UK-born and raised Andu Mukhtar is representing his fatherland for the first time at the ongoing ITF West and Central African Junior Championships (AJC) and has been one of the better players in the competition.
His first attempt at playing a tournament in Africa was at the Lagos Open Tennis Championships in October, 2018, where he picked up the first ATP points of his tennis career.
Following his superb performance and confidence on and off the court, Mukhtar was subsequently invited to represent Nigeria at the AJC qualifiers in Togo, and so far, it has been a relatively good outing for the youngster.
With his British accent and his audacious approach, one may think he is not likely to enjoy the company of the young players with whom he has been in Togo for upwards of seven-eight days, but reverse is the case.
“My experience with my teammates, we’re very strong, we support each other till the every end; even on and off court. We’ve had a great bond, and we are very strong,” Mukhtar said about his new friends.
The dark-skinned youngster who became arguably the youngest player ever to play at the Lagos Open Tennis Championships in 2018, also rated the level of competitiveness the tournament had, noting how strong the teams were throughout.
He told Nigeria Tennis Live that, “The standout of the tournament is the strength of the players, they’re strong and have great serves. The doubles was especially very hard to beat because there are so many strong doubles players to beat.
“Any outsider would want to compete here.”
On how easy it was for him to integrate into the Nigerian team that he met in Lome, Togo for the first time, the player who ended 2018 as the world’s 1745 ranked player, confessed that the bonding was instant.
“My experience in this tournament is very good. During my matches, there was a lot of support from the other players, which was very strong to me and my game. The atmosphere is very good, with a lot of teams playing good tennis and it was just a good experience for me,” Mukhtar, who was part of the Great Britain U-12 team that defeated France several years ago, revealed.
In spite of all of these, will he still be willing to represent Nigeria if the opportunity presents itself? Needless to say, he responded: “If I had the same opportunity again, I would definitely take it on board.
“I’d be interested in playing for Nigeria again because like I said, I like the atmosphere, and it is very important to prove myself again that I can play good tennis in different countries.”