It has been a long and painful path for Angella Oku-toyi to reach the red clay courts of Roland Garros but the 18-year-old Kenyan is in no doubt about her ambition. “The French Open is the big stage,” she told AFP.
“My goal is to do better than I did in Australia… and if I can win the tournament why not?” High ambitions for a young woman who ranks 66 in the world junior rankings and who has over-come the tragedy of losing her mother when she was an infant.
The signs are already encouraging after she be-came the first Kenyan girl to win a junior Grand Slam match earlier this year when she reached the third round of the Australian Open.
“Playing at the Grand Slam, which has always been a dream for me, was a good experience and a good lesson too,” said Okutoyi who draws inspira-tion from Serena Williams, her childhood idol whose style of play she has adopted. Her coach Francis Rogoi says Okutoyi is gifted and that when she begins her Paris campaign, she will do so armed with a powerful backhand and an aggressive baseline game, just like 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams.
“I hope she’s successful in reaching the next level and see if we can have a Serena from Africa,” Rogoi told AFP.—APP