There was a lot of media hype and buzz on the social media about the Lagos Open International Tennis Championships, especially with the recent rebranding of the tournament after 17 consistent years.
Nigerian players were not left out of the buzz, as they all prepared and trained really hard for the competition, with the hope that ‘this would finally be their year’.
In fact, Sylvester Emmanuel, Nigeria’s number two ranked player, traveled to play two legs of ITF Futures in Tunisia to be fully fit and ready for the competition, but it was not to be, as he lost his first round matches in both legs of the competition.
|Christian Paul was one of the hardworking Nigerian players who could not match up with their foreign counterparts.|
In the last few years, the fate of Nigerian players has pummeled further. From playing in the quarterfinals of the event, they are now losing out in the first round of the tournament; a situation which most tennis observers believe is a norm.
Nobody wants to accept blame for this development; not the players, not the tennis federation, not the coaches, not the officials. Therefore, the situation is far from being resolved.
The harsh reality is that the players have now forgotten – quite instinctively – the pains of having to prepare so hard for a tournament and lose in the early stage. A fate which has become their lot in recent years.
And after the Lagos Open, they’d rather shift their focus to something more appealing, something more productive, something more rewarding – the NCC Tennis League, and the tournament is already restoring some life to the players (some of who have their ego bruised already).
After the NCC Tennis League are the Rainoil Tennis and the Dala Hard Court Championship which will end another tennis season for the ever fighting, ever grinding Nigerian players.
But will this help with the players’ development and global recognition in the game? Will this aid the development of the sport in the country?
What then happens afterwards? The struggle continues? Will it ever end?