‘Like a marathon’: Africa’s tennis talents tread long road to success

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After Angella Okutoyi’s triumph at the African Games, there is hope the sport can break new ground on the continent

As the tennis competition at the African Games in Accra reached the semi-final stage last week, Kenya’s Angella Okutoyi entered uncharted territory. Across the net from the world No 532 stood Mayar Sherif of Egypt, an elite player ranked No 70. With a potential Olympic spot on the line for the tournament winner, the stakes were stratospheric. Over four hours later, incredibly, Okutoyi, 20, emerged with a 5‑7, 7-5, 7-6 (5) win before leaving Ghana with a gold medal.

In Okutoyi’s short career, making history has become a regular occurrence. In 2022, she became the first Kenyan to win a match at a junior grand slam tournament, the Australian Open, which she followed up by winning the Wimbledon 2022 girls’ doubles title alongside Rose Marie Nijkamp of the Netherlands. Her hopes and dreams on the professional circuit reflect one of the most pressing questions in elite tennis: can the sport provide a pathway for black African tennis players to reach the top?

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Written by Tumaini Carayol
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2024/mar/27/africa-tennis-talents-long-road-success under the title “‘Like a marathon’: Africa’s tennis talents tread long road to success”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.