The Ethiopian Tennis Federation (ETF) is hosting the international junior circuit championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from February 11 to February 25, 2023. The championship is projected to draw athletes from 28 countries.
The Addis Ababa Tennis Club will host the 14-day event. The Greek Club has also been selected as a reserve venue.
More than 50 players under the age of 18 will compete in the championship, according to Michael Niguese, technical chairman and executive member of the ETF.
The national Federation, in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), will be organizing the competition. The ITF has organized a hotel, transportation, logistics, playing equipment, and referees to ensure the smooth running of the tournament.
Michael noted that the championship will feature competition for both sexes and use a standard format.
Players from Israel, France, Italy, Brazil, the United States, as well as Namibia, Kenya, and Morocco, will compete in a qualification tournament on February 11 and 12.
A team from the ITF visited Ethiopia a few months ago to assess the facility and other sports infrastructure. “After the ITF team analyzed the situation of tennis courts in Ethiopia, the ETF was able to gain the opportunity to arrange the tournament,” Michael explained.
The Federation added that they helped arrange training for Ethiopian referees one week before the competition.
Michael claims that the ETF’s participation in continental and international events over the past two years has yielded positive outcomes. Recently, they agreed to collaborate with Bahir Dar University by signing a memorandum of understanding to help grow the sport.
The Federation has introduced a Junior Tennis Initiative to encourage youth to develop tennis from the ground up and has also been providing regional training for coaches and officials. It is made clear that the Federation is separate from the government and has made the decision to stand on its own, and that it plans to perform awareness work in order to have a clear grasp of the sport.
It is said that tennis was initially introduced to Ethiopia by French railroad workers during the reign of Emperor Menelik II (1889–1916).
Tennis has a reputation for being a sport that only the wealthy can afford to play. Despite Ethiopia’s potential to foster tennis development, the sport is dormant due to a lack of collaboration with international and African tennis federations.