18-year-old Angela Okutoyi is the first Kenyan to compete in the Australian Open, a scheduled Grand Slam held annually in Melbourne, Australia. The tournament is set to begin on on January 22nd through the 29th. The young tennis player hopes to improve her current International Tennis Federation Junior ranking at 60th position during the tournament, revealing her hope to make it to the top 30.
Okutoyi booked her spot at the tournament after winning the under 18 Africa Junior Tennis Championship in November last year. In September 2018, she won the Women’s Britam Kenya Open Tennis Championship, defeating three-time former champion Shufaa Changawa 6-1, 7-6 at the Nairobi Club. This would see her become the youngest player to achieve such a fete at 14 years of age.
To warm up for the tournament, Okutoyi faced Yan Yin of Australia in the J1 Traralgon Junior international tennis tournament in Melbourne. She added that she is now fully adjusted to the hot conditions in Australia, and will keep having a training sessions to acclimatise.
Speaking on her participation in this year’s tournament, an excited Okutoyi said, “It’s been a dream come true to play in a grand slam tournament of this nature and so I am very excited. The conditions are quite tough but I am now getting used to them and I can’t wait for my first match. I play with parents, experienced players and that means I have to put up double the effort if I am to reap results. I’m aiming for a top 30 bracket and I believe I’ll achieve it.”
Okutoyi is among 46 players enlisted for the main draw in the girls’ category. This will be her first Australian Open Junior Championship. She is currently the only Kenyan player representing the country in Australia.