Tennis Zimbabwe president, Anne Martin, said they are expecting a huge turnout including the appearance of former Zimbabwe Davis Cup player, Genius Chidzikwe.
Chidzikwe was part of the Zimbabwean team that in 1998 reached the quarter finals of the Davis Cup World Group beating the likes of Croatia, Austria, Ukraine, Great Britain, and Australia.
That team was anchored by Byron and Wayne Black and Chidzikwe later on took over as Zimbabwe’s number one Davis Cup player following the retirement of the Blacks.
Apart from Chidzikwe, Martin said they are also expecting players to come from all the four parts of the continent, and most of them from the southern African region.
Already, she said, they received enquiries from players in South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana.
Martin added that apart from Chidzikwe, Davis Cup team coach Gwinyai Tongoona, will also take part in the contest to add spice to the competition as well Takanyi Garan’anga who won Zimbabwe a gold medal at the just ended All Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique in September.
Garan’anga is a member of the Zimbabwe Davis Cup team.
The Zimbabwe Open has a rich and proud history and all of Zimbabwe’s most known players Byron, Wayne, and Cara Black, Martin Dzuwa, Chidzikwe, Kevin Ullyett, Tongoona, and Peter Nyamande, all first made their mark in the Zimbabwe Open before going on to enjoy success on the international scene.
Even South Africa’s most known tennis players Amanda Coetzer, and Wayne Ferreira were regular features in the Zimbabwe Open.
The Open was absent for about six years as Tennis Zimbabwe battled to find a sponsor to bankroll the competition but that sponsor has been found in the form of NetOne.
Now that the competition is back, Martin says, they are going to try to have it accorded Futures Status from the International Tennis Federation in order to attract international participation.