After series of spectacular performances by Clifford Enosoregbe this year, the Edo-born tennis star is set to end the year as Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, Naija Tennis Special can report.
In a year which has seen Enosoregbe play in the final two national competitions-Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Open and Dala Hard Court Championship- and winning one of them, the former junior tennis rookie has done enough to see him usurp former champ and regular number one holder, Abdulmumuni Babalola.
Enosoregbe, who started playing the national competitions in 2009, believes that it is just one of those things that comes as a reward of hard work and consistency.
He also claimed that since his 2011 All Africa Games gold medal winning feat in the doubles event with Onyeka Mbanu, there has been no stopping him.
“For me, it does not seem so special becoming the country’s number one tennis player. It is as a result of the hard work that I have put into my game over the years. It comes with a lot of responsibilities and I hope everybody realises that.
“Since 2011 after the gold medal we won in Maputo, I’ve told myself that I can get better and maybe the efforts that I have put in are yielding fruits now” he enthused.
The turning point for arguably Nigeria’s best player at this year’s Governor’s Cup, happened to be in 2009 when he lost his second consecutive International Tennis Federation,ITF Junior Circuit to perennial opponent, Henry Atseye.
“I had lost my second consecutive ITF Junior Circuit in the Benin to Henry (Atseye) and I thought that I had to do more” he said
“I joined the train to play at the nationals and despite the fact that I had not won any major title before this year, I kept pushing myself and today I’m a national champion” the former Holland-based player added.
On how long he can sustain the number one spot, Enosoregbe remained humble as always as he maintains that becoming the country’s number one player means extra work and he will continue to work hard.
He said: “I really don’t know. It is difficult to maintain the number one spot but I will continue with my hard work and see how far I can remain there.
“I only want to keep doing what I know how best to do and see how far I can go. The number of tournaments in the country per year is quite discouraging but we hope to continue doing our best”.
National coach, Benson Ishicheli, is not surprised about Enosoregbe’s end of the year finish as he believes that the player has done enough for himself in the course of the year and deserves it.
“With Clifford’s performance this year, he will end 2013 as Nigeria’s number one and I am not surprised about this.
“He has played well and done enough to be named as Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, so we can only that he maintains his form for a long time to come” the Davis Cup team Coach offered.
With this present rise of Enosoregbe to the number one spot in the racquet game, the rivalry may have just begun as tennis players and observers look forward to a new season.