The International Tennis Federation Juniors tournament meant to have started on November 9, hosting 24 countries has been greatly affected with the courts at the Nairobi club suffering from the occasion downpour.
Opening qualifying matches that were set for last weekend were cancelled and the organisers forced to skip to the next level of first round due to fear of losing time.
Only the first round of the matches have been played this week on Monday as preparations of the clay courts continue and players await for the green light to kick off their second round expected to have started on Wednesday.
This is the eighth year in a row that Kenya is hosting the ITF 18 and under tournament, but the availability of an all-season tennis courts proves to be a challenge.
Fifteen matches including singles and doubles had been planned for Wednesday with Kenya’s Whycliffe Okenye, Derick Ominde expected to highlight the boys’ singles, while Cynthia Wanjala and Angela Okutoyi open the girls’ singles.
Players from different countries expressed their desperate need of the rains taking a break to give them a chance to play because it is also financially draining for those from outside Kenya.
The organisers have said that the unexpected rains have affected the tournament schedule making them reorganise the matches and work with players who are close to the court other than following the time allocated to each match.
Nairobi club has clay courts which absorb the rain and make the ground muddy that players are unable to play and without a reliable drainage system, the courts remain impossible to use leading to questions over the state of sports infrastructure in the country.
All tennis courts require proper drainage where water cannot get under the surface making it crack with a variety of drainage systems available like the French draining system which is an underground drainage system consisting of a sloping trench filled with gravel and a perforated drain pipe and covered with drain rock and landscape fabric to easily absorb the water.
Tennis courts can also use Channel and drywell drainage systems.
Meanwhile, some of the young talents to watch include Alicia Owegi and Roselida Asumwa, who came close to the finals of the ITF women’s tour three months ago and easily qualified in their first round matches and Edmond Ogega and Ryan Ateto.