TENNIS

History-maker Angela Okutoyi jets back home

Okutoyi now says her focus is on US Open Tennis Championships

Tennis sensation Angela Okutoyi (centre) flanked by Manoah Esipisu, Kenya's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (right) and a Kenya Airways captain (left)

Just two days after tennis sensation Angela Okutoyi made history by becoming the first Kenyan to be crowned champion at a Grand Slam event, the 18-year-old has arrived back home.

Okutoyi landed safely at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Monday together with Wanjiru Karani, Secretary General of Tennis Kenya.

Aside from her usual luggage, Okutoyi disembarked from the plane with a special souvenir from her participation at the Wimbledon Open doubles Junior Championships in England.

The special souvenir in this case is the trophy that she and her partner Rose Marie Nijkamp from the Netherlands beat Canadian duo Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club on July 9.

According to Okutoyi, it was social media that connected the two champions together. "Nijkamp texted me on Instagram asking me if I could join her in the main draw since I didn't have a partner, she revealed after their victory.

At Wimbledon, not only did Okutoyi put Kenya on the map but also became the first African - junior or senior, man or woman - to win a Grand Slam event.

Despite her success so far this year, the teenager is still determined to finish the season with a bang as she now shifts her attention to the US Open Tennis Championships “I will take in the victory, celebrate, then turn my focus to the US Open, God willing,“ she said.

The Championships are scheduled for August 29 to September 11, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York.

Aside from her participation at Wimbledon, Okutoyi has so far participated in two other Grand Slams this year.

The 2021 Africa Junior Champion from January 22-29 took part in the Australian Open Grand Slam Tournament. In Australia, Okutoyi ended her Grand Slam debut with a third round finish, narrowly missing out on the quarterfinals.

From May 29 to June 4, the rising star took part in the Roland Garros Junior Championships in Paris, France. Unfortunately, at the Championships, Okutoyi lost to top-ranked Petra Marcinko in the second round over two straight sets (6-2), (6-4).

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