|Clifford Enosoregbe, Nigeria’s number one tennis player|
The Abridged Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship ended in Lagos on Saturday, with a Nigerian player, Michael Moses, winning it for the first time since it became ITF-certified.
Moses showed grit and strong mental prowess to overpower a witty Duncan Mugabe from Uganda as Nigeria finally broke the jinx of not making it to the podium in the Singles event.
But, the Nigerian players are still lamenting what would have been had the tournament not been an invitational without ATP points.
For the first time in the ladies’ event, Nigeria had representatives in the Quarterfinals and surpassed this with subsequent appearance in the Semis and Final matches of the tournament.
Had it been the usual tournament, the player would have moved to about top 1000 or 900 in the world.
In the Men’s Singles as well, youngster, Sylvester Emmanuel, who dismissed tournament’s number one seed, would have also had more reasons to be happy other than the pride and prize money.
Clifford Enosoregbe, Nigeria’s number one player, who lost to eventual winner, Michael Moses, expressed his displeasure at the absence of the ranking points, noting that it would have boosted the players’ ratings after the tournament.
“That was the bane of the tournament this year, I tell you. Imagine the level Michael (Moses) would have gotten to after winning the event.
“I thought it was a Nigerian’s opportunity to win it and I was not wrong with that assertion. I lost in the Quarter final but that is tennis for you. You do not win always,” the Edo-based star noted.
Sarah Adegoke, who was playing at the tournament for the very first time, also expressed her joy at getting to the latter stage of the tournament.
Adegoke whose performance in the final against Zarah Razafinmahatratra from Madagascar was far from convincing, also rued the absence of the points.
She said: “I am happy to have gotten this far in the competition, but it would have been sweeter if there were ranking points. That would have been the icing on the cake for me.”
The tournament’s Umpire Seidu Musa, also hailed Nigeria’s performance and believes that they would have benefited more if the ranking points were not excluded this year.
According to him, “It was great having the tournament despite the initial fears of Ebola and the absence of some invitees. It would have been more beneficial for our players if the ATP points were added to the prize monies”.
The players have now shifted their attention to the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA National Open scheduled to start today,
Friday, 28 November.