Local tennis ace and Botswana’s number one ranked player Phenyo Matong will start this year with an appearance at the Mozambique Open which is billed for the next two weeks.
The event was supposed to start few weeks ago but was postponed due to floods which were sparked by heavy rains. The Mozambique Open is however expected to start when the floods reduce and the dates are yet to be confirmed.
There are also fears that the tennis tournament will fail because heavy rains could return and wreak more havoc in the coming days. The floods have killed about 160 people and affected nearly 160 000.
However in an interview with Gazette Sport, Matong’s focus was not primarily on the Mozambique floods but preparing for the Maputo Open event. The tournament attracts prize money of 2000 US Dollars(BWP 15000-20000) and he will relish the opportunity of smiling to the bank early in the year.
Even though the tourney is just an Open event Matong said winning first event of the year cannot be over exaggerated as it will gear one to doing better in upcoming games.
“The Mozambique Open will be very important to me physically and mentally as it can change the whole course of the year,” he said.
The organizers have not yet seeded the Botswana player but he could be among the top four ranked based on his performance in the same event last year. The local lad made it to the semifinals last year in the Open.
He said in this year’s tournament he will come up against other tennis stars from different countries in Southern Africa. He said he hopes that he gets seeded amongst the top four as that will put him in a great position to win the tournament.
Matong was ranked as the 2024th best tennis player in the world last year. His personal best was 1541, ranked in 26 May last year. The local tennis star will be hoping to work hard and go 581 steps up or even do better than that to match last year’s feat.