What you need to know:
- Okutoyi and her twin sister Roselida Asumwa along with Stacy Yego, Faith Urasa, Alicia Owegi and Cynthia Wanjala are the six Kenyans in the W25 Nairobi entry list.
- Valeriya Strakhova from Ukraine (281), Africa’s third-ranked player Sada Nahimana from Burundi (337) and Emeline Dartron from France (421) are the top-three ranked players in WTA rankings coming to Nairobi.
Angella Okutoyi has earned a wild card to the main draw of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women’s World Tennis Tour (W25) which will be held in Kenya for the first time ever.
The two events will be held on December 10-17 at the Karen Country Club and December 17-24 at the Nairobi Club.
Tennis Kenya have partnered with Karen Country Club and ITF to host the two tournaments which have attracted 45 players from 34 countries.
Rental finance solutions company RentWorks are the main sponsors.
With a career high of 860 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings (Singles) and currently the only Kenyan in top-1,000 placed at position 939, USA-based Okutoyi was scheduled to start the first W25 Nairobi in the qualifying draw.
“There are four wild cards and Okutoyi will get one of them to the main draw. Because we are hosting the events, the rule of issuing wild cards is Kenya is considered first and then Africa, so Okutoyi gets one. We will announce the other three in due course,” said ITF Supervisor (Referee) Patrick Kamuhia.
Tennis Kenya Secretary General Wanjiru Karani said the tournament attracted 400 players, but had to meet the tournament rules of 32 players in the main draw and a similar number in the qualifying draw. Twenty players qualify directly to the main draw and will be joined by eight qualifiers and four wild cards.
“Hosting a W25 event has been a passion project for Tennis Kenya. It gives Okutoyi the chance to compete on home turf and earn points to be able to advance her career. We are expecting a very competitive tournament as the top-10 players coming are ranked in the top-450 bracket in WTA,” said Wanjiru.
Tennis Kenya president James Kenani said he was looking forward to exciting W25 world-class tournaments in Nairobi. “We hope Angie will make the country proud,” he added.
Karen Country Club’s General Manager Lee Mathu noted that last year’s W15 tournaments at the same venue were a huge success. “We look forward to a great tournament,” said Mathu.
Rentworks has been supporting tennis at the Karen Country Club for eight years. “It’s fantastic that 400 players from around the world were interested in competing at the W25 Nairobi tournaments. We are excited to continue supporting it. Even next year, we will be there,” said Rentworks CEO Johan Taljaard.
All the participants will get prize money ranging from Sh603,629 (eventual winner) down to Sh7,670 (qualifying draw). There are also WTA Ranking points from winner (50), runners-up (30), semi-finalists (18), quarter-finalists (nine) and second round (five).
Okutoyi and her twin sister Roselida Asumwa along with Stacy Yego, Faith Urasa, Alicia Owegi and Cynthia Wanjala are the six Kenyans in the W25 Nairobi entry list.
Valeriya Strakhova from Ukraine (281), Africa’s third-ranked player Sada Nahimana from Burundi (337) and Emeline Dartron from France (421) are the top-three ranked players in WTA rankings coming to Nairobi.