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Tennis Kenya to lobby ITF to restructure Billy Jean King Cup

Tennis Kenya will lobby International Tennis Federation to restructure the Billy Jean King Cup to ensure African teams get promotion to the top tier.

Speaking on Thursday, Tennis Kenya Administrator Nancy Nduku said the proposal will be an item to be discussed at the Tennis Kenya Annual General Meeting(AGM) after the recent Billy Jean King Cup tournament held in Lithuania where Kenya lost all their matches with the team struggling as Lithuania and Norway secured promotion to Euro-Africa Group 2.

Team Kenya lost all their three matches in the pool phase, going down 3-0 to Malta, Algeria and Zimbabwe and then lost in the classification match — 2-1 to Namibia.

Under the current format, African teams are grouped alongside European opponents.

Nduku said with 27 nations competing for two slots in Lithuania, it becomes difficult for African nations to get promotion and will therefore propose for  an African event — just like the Davis Cup.

“The African nations want equality. It is difficult to play these higher-ranked nations who have professional players in the women’s top 100. We want a separate event to give ourselves a chance of qualification to the top tier,” Nduku said.

Head coach Francis Rogoi said the team must go back to the drawing board if they are to win against the higher-ranked nations.

“The girls gave a good account of themselves but they need more tournaments to be competitive,” said Rogoi.

Elsewhere, the ITF under 18 tournament starts today at the Nairobi Club and will run for three weeks.

Tennis players will earn ranking points after every leg of the tournament.

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