Teen tennis players Angela Okutoyi and her twin sister Roselida Asumwa’s look up to their American idols Serena and Venus Williams. Roselida speaks candidly about her sister, friend, compatriot and rival on what makes her tick.
Barry Silah @obel_barry
When they speak about the sport that has made them travel and network, Angela Okutoyi and Roselida Asumwa’s eyes light up.
They are a growing breed of talented players the tennis fraternity has an eye on.
The twin court rulers were introduced to the game as three-year-olds at the Loreto Convent estate, Nairobi, by one of their uncles who is also a coach, Allan Saka.
Since then, there has been no turning back. They have been glued to the sport after watching their American tennis idols Serena Williams and Venus Williams doing their thing over the years.
For Roselida, blood defies all things including jealousy or rivalry on and off the court.
All she ever wants for both of them is the best so that they can achieve their dream of playing professional.
The reserved Roselida has nothing, but praise for her sibling dubbing her as an easy person to be around.
“She is caring and loving. Those who know and interact with her can attest to that. Also, Angela takes time to listen.
Her honesty is on another level. We have fun together when she is around and do the girly stuff.
So yes, she is a good soul to be around,” says the Form Three student at Shadrack Kimalel Secondary School in Nairobi’s Ngumba area. Her sister is homeschoolled and is in Grade 10.
Angie, as she is commonly known is homeschooled because she is based at the East Africa Tennis Centre—a private facility where most of the time she trains.
She is an International Tennis Federation (ITF) project. In the meantime, she has moved to Morocco at the ITF centre there.
Because of travelling often, she gets to learn online through the support of ITF.
Angela has risen to be a star at a young age, conquering both Kenya and Africa in ITF tournaments.
In 2018, she became the youngest player to win the Kenya Open then aged 14 after upsetting experienced three-time former champion Shufaa Changawa.
Angela is currently ranked Position 186 in the World in the ITF Junior Rankings. According to Roselida whom also Angela describes as good-hearted, her sister is a shining example on and off the court.
However, some of their friends who rarely see Angela because of her travelling nature misundersand her.
“It is interesting how people around us behave. In fact, a lot of my friends fear Angela, but I would say they do not get to see her enough since she is always travelling,” she adds.
For a 16-year-old, Angela seems to be handling a lot of responsibility in her shoulders and as Roselida explains, it is all about commitment.
“She is already a member of the Kenyan Fed Cup team and individually, a brilliant player locally and in the region.
She teaches me the value of hardwork and pushes me to strive to be the best.
She might be young, but the way she handles all that comes her way is amazing,” Roselida says.
No ordinary competitor
Roselida also thanks her sister for always trying to make her grow in the game. “When we play together in doubles, we learn a lot from each other.
However, when we are opponents, it is even more intense. Of course only one can win, but what I can say is I pick positives and improve on the weak spots.
In fact, playing against Angela is a privilege for me since she is no ordinary competitor,” states the shy teenager.
However, the orphans who are under the care of a guardian, their grandmother Mary Ndonga have youth coaches to thank for standing with them all through.
“Angela and I could not have been here. Her dream to be in the Grand Slams and turn professional could not have gotten right if our coaches did not give us the much-needed motivation,” she says in ending.
- If they were not tennis players, Angela Okutoyi and her twin sister Roselida Asumwa could be models or fashion designers.
- Both girls love to cook and are into fashion.
- Angie as she is famously referred to is currently ranked Position 186 in the World ITF Junior Rankings.
- She has a 50 per cent win ratio in international tournaments.
- Roselida is currently ranked 1,149 in the ITF standings.
- Rose has a win percentage of 33 per cent overall in her tournaments.
- Both want to pursue professional tennis to fullfil their guardian’s wishes of seeing them on television.