Mugabe and Oringa carry Uganda’s hopes in Open
Posted Thursday, March 14 2013 at 02:00
Veteran Robert Buyinza will not partake in the singles draw for the first time since 1990.
Friendly foes Duncan Mugabe and David Oringa are well aware of the weight of expectations on their shoulders ahead of this year’s Castle Lite Uganda Tennis Open that serves off at Kampala Club on Saturday.
The two Ugandans will be charged with ensuring the title stays home for the fourth consecutive year after a 14-year foreign legion stranglehold that was halted by Mugabe when he eased past Kenyan Dennis Ochieng 6-3 6-3 in 2010 at Lugogo.
And after 33-year-old Robert Buyinza opted out of the singles draw for the first time since 1990, the youthful pair of Oringa, 19, and Mugabe, 22, will aside their budding rivalry, work to give the fans something to cheer about. “I am not scared of anyone,” said defending champion Oringa, at the official tournament launch where Castle Lite brand manager Timothy Kayondo announced a Shs40m sponsorship package for the event.
Shs20.5m will be given out as cash prizes. “The court will be the judge and I am ready to play anyone. All I need now is more practice on the Kampala Club courts because the environment will be different and some of my Lugogo fans will be absent.”
Mugabe, though, stated that the Open will be tricky and the hot temperatures could play a part in determining the winners. “There are a lot of champions registering for this tournament,” said two-time winner Mugabe, who also has three Kenya Open titles to his name. “Everyone who steps on court with a racket will be a threat. But I have my plans for them.
For now, I want to conserve as much energy as possible in the build-up because it is very hot.” Tournament official John Oduke, a legend of the game in Uganda who last won the Open in 1996, disclosed that Oringa is the top seed whereas Mugabe will be among the top four seeds. “Their current ITF points matter. Mugabe has played many international events lately. I envisage top quality tennis throughout the showpiece.”