THE Harare Junior Tennis Open tournament is set to receive a major boost with local biscuit and sweet manufacturer, Arenel, through their Wimbledon biscuits brand taking over as title sponsors of the prestigious junior tournament for the next five years.
This year’s tournament which will now be called the Arenel Wimbledon Harare Junior Tennis Open, will run from April 26-29 at Harare Sports Club while Old Hararians Sports Club and Prince Edward School would be used as alternative venues.
Tournament director Linset Chitiyo said the sponsorship package which will be unveiled on Thursday, will play a huge role in developing junior tennis in the country.
“We are very excited to have Arenel coming on board to sponsor local junior tournaments through their Wimbledon biscuits brand as this will play a major role in developing the sport at grassroots level,” Chitiyo, who is also a local junior tennis coach said.
The Arenel Wimbledon Harare Junior Tennis Open which will be run by the Metropolitan Tennis Board, is expected to feature over 200 players from the Under-12, Under-14 and the Under-18 age categories.
Chitiyo said there had been an overwhelming response from junior players hoping to take part with some players coming from neighbouring Botswana and South Africa.
“So far we have entries from Botswana and South Africa. We also have a high number of local entries coming from places like Bulawayo, Gweru, Marondera, Bindura, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi, Rusape, Bindura and Mutare. At the moment we have about 235 entries, but we are expecting more,” he said.
The seasoned coach also revealed that a number of top junior players who recently represented the country at continental tournaments in Morocco and Kenya would feature in the tournament.
“Top seeds like Lucca Picci and Zarah Finnigan and Rufaro Chiwera who were in Morocco for the Under-18 African Championships have also entered the tournament. In the lower age group categories, the likes of Beverly Matsiwe, Karen Machisa and Tanaka Chabata who were at the African Junior Championships in Kenya, will also be in action at the Harare Junior Tennis Open,” he added.