Angella Okutoyi: Rise of Teen Tennis Star Brought Up in an Orphanage

  • A Collage of Kemyan Tennis Sensation Angela, Okutoyi.
    A Collage of Kenyan Tennis Sensation Angella, Okutoyi.
  • Kenyan teen tennis star, Angella Okutoyi, opened up about her humble beginnings and her ambitions to conquer the world of tennis.

    The 18-year-old put Kenya on the global map and wrote history when she became the first Kenyan woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament after winning two matches last week in Australia.

    On Wednesday, February 2, Tennis Kenya marked 100 years and celebrated the remarkable teenager. Angela left many people in tears after she narrated how she grew up in an orphanage.

    Okutoyi stated that it never crossed her mind that she would create such impressive career milestones and make Kenyans proud of her achievements despite growing up in hardship.

    Kenyan Tennis Player, Angela Okutoyi
    Kenyan Tennis Player, Angella Okutoyi

    “I have been doing some interviews but I usually don’t mention four people who are really important in my life. One of them is my grandmother Mary Donya. 

    "I want to say thank you so much because without her, maybe I wouldn’t be in Kenya or I wouldn’t even have known the sport tennis because back when we were young, I was in the orphanage and she really struggled so much to take care of me,” Okutoyi remarked.

    Seeking to debunk the myth that tennis is a rich man's sport, Okutoyi noted that the game accommodated her despite her humble beginnings and encouraged younger players to never give up on their dreams.

    “I was raised in an orphanage where I could not afford a meal. In Kenya, most people who play tennis are not well-off. Their families, like mine, don’t have much and I just want to encourage them and say that the situation doesn’t mean they cannot reach here, and it doesn’t define them.

    "Most players here who I see don’t come from well off families just like me but I am seeing they really give all that they can and what I can tell them is not to lose hope as they keep fighting and believing.

    “Nothing is impossible, I have reached here and they can also make it. They just need to be determined and trust the people around them, be focused, and do what’s right,” Okutoyi stated.

    Okutoyi also made history by becoming the first Kenyan to compete in the Australian Open. The Australian Open is a scheduled Grand Slam held annually in Melbourne, Australia.

    The 18-year-old participated in the Australian Open Women's Junior competition. On her return to Kenya, the Deputy High Commissioner for Australia Linda Gellard gifted Okutoyi an Australian photo book, indigenous scarf, and water bottle for the court.

    The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) on their official Twitter account, the association stated that the Kenyan teenager had made history to become the first Kenyan woman to win a match in the Grand Slam Juniors tournament.

    During the match played against Federica Urgesi of Italy, Angela secured an empathic victory after winning two sets.

    The promising tennis player hopes to improve her International Tennis Federation Junior ranking (60th) during the tournament. She revealed that she targets to advance to the quarter-finals stage of the tournament.

    Okutoyi booked her spot at the tournament after winning the Africa Junior Tennis Championship (18 & Under) in November 2021. 

    A collage image of 18-year-old Angela Okutoyi.
    A collage image of 18-year-old Angella Okutoyi.