The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda Steps Up Preps As Davis Cup Beckons

A provisional six-man national tennis team has stepped up preparations ahead of next month's Davis Cup Africa Zone III tournament which will be held in Cairo, Egypt. According to the Rwanda Tennis Federation technical Director Fidel Bayama, the team has spent the last two weeks in camp.

"We have decided to have early preparations for the very important tournament where we will be hoping to get promotion to Euro-Africa Group II," he told Times Sport on Thursday. The team is comprised of top seed Jean Claude Gasigwa, Dieudonne Habiyambere, Olivier Havugimana, Mubarak Harelimana, Gatete Hamisi and Anatole Bizimana.

Burundi-based youngster Ernest Habiyambere is also in contention for a place in the final four-man team, which will be selected next week. The team is currently training at Cercle Sportif everyday under the tutelage of coach Sylvain Rutikanga. Rwanda's best performance was last registered in 2009 when the team finished seventh. The country missed last year edition held in Tunisia.

Gasigwa is Rwanda's most experienced player having paricipated in Davis Cup competitions. Ranked 1778, Gasigwa, who weighs 78kg, has won nine matches [five single and four doubles wins] out of the 33 outdoor matches of all Davis Cup appearances.

This year, Rwanda will be hoping for better fortunes at the Africa Zone III tournament which takes place at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo, Egypt, from May 13-18. The tourney will see Rwanda fight for one of two promotion places with Zimbabwe, Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, hosts Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia.

The World Group is the highest rank in Davis Cup tennis.

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