By Admire Machiwenyika
Davis Cup tournament returns after a 9 year hiatus and Zimbabwe tennis team will lock horns with East European team Bosnia and Herzegovina at Harare Sports Club.
The tournament will run over the weekend from 6-8 March and will see Zimbabwean and Bosnian players contesting in the in the singles and doubles categories for a place to the next round.
The Zimbabwean team has the boost of veteran tennis player Wayne Black who kicked off training with the team captain Martin Dzuma last month and also the arrival of two foreign based players arrived in the country a fortnight ago United States-based Takanyi Garanganga and Turkey based doubles specialist Mark Fynn. The two remaining players Tinotenda Chanakira and Benjamin lock recently jetted in country to complete the Zimbabwean squad.
Zimbabwe will be banking their hopes on one of Zimbabwe’s top Tennis player Takanyi Garanganga who is ranked 327 in the world and he expressed how crucial is the tie to progress to the next group.
“It’s been exciting and I have been looking forward to this since we qualified in Egypt last year, so every time I have been working out I always had the Davis Cup in my mind,” said Garanganga.
Tennis Zimbabwe president Regis Bhunu confirmed that all was set to host the Davis cup over the weekend but revealed that the issue of sponsorship was still haunting the Davis Cup tournament and was appealing to the corporate world to chip in.
“Preparations are still ongoing and everything is still in place to host the Davis Cup, but we are still looking for more sponsorship from the corporate world,” said Bhunu.
Zimbabwe Davis Cup team faces a stiff competition as the squad announced by Tennis Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina last week was based on World Tennis rankings and consisted of Damir Dzumhr, ranked 87th in the world, Mirza Basic (200), Tomislav Brkic (241) and Nerman Fati (800).
The visiting team will be led by Bosnian- American Amer Delic, who was appointed the Davis Cup captain and chief selector for Bosnia and Herzegovina two years ago for their maiden trip to Zimbabwe.
The Bosnian youngster to watch out for is the inform 22 year-old Dzumhr who has shown some scintillating performance when he recently broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time in his career after reaching the final of the ATP Morelos Challenger in Mexico.
Dzumhr is expected to be in top form as he already has an ATP Challenger Tour title this year after winning the Sonto Domingo Challenger in the Dominican Republic last month.
Zimbabwe is currently on a high after their promotion from the Africa Zone Group III last year will be hoping for a home advantage against their counterparts who are expected to struggle in local conditions revealed on the Tennis Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina official page last week.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina will travel early, in order to have enough time to adapt to all conditions that will greet them in Harare,” reads the statement.
The last Davis Cup assignment saw Zimbabwe being booted out visitors Norway 9 years ago in our own backyard in a Euro/Africa Zone Group II first round tie at the Harare Sports Club in 2006.
The then Zimbabwe team comprised of top flight tennis players Dumiso Khumalo, Stefan D’ Almedia, Genius Chidzikwe and Gwinyai Tongoona lost the match 1-4 at Harare Sports Club.
A win for Zimbabwe in this tie they will play another match later this year for a possible promotion into Europe/Africa Group I and a loss will see Zimbabwe remain in the Europe/Africa Group II.