Nigeria’s number two male tennis player, Sylvester Emmanuel, has revealed his plans for year 2017, one of which is to leave Nigeria for Barcelona, Spain.
The back-to-back Dala Hard Court Championship winner has been the shining light of Nigerian tennis for about two years now, causing unexpected upsets and winning major tournaments in the country.
|Sylvester Emmanuel in action at the 2016 Governor’s Cup Tennis Championship in Lagos where he upset some top ranking players.|
He almost single-handedly won the NCC Tennis League for his Team Offikwu against all odds and in this exclusive chat with our correspondent, reveals why he is going to Barcelona, Spain, to further hone his tennis skills.
Congrats on your success at the NCC Tennis League, how did that make you feel?
I was very glad with the success of my team Offikwu because nobody gave us the chance, but we shocked everybody by winning the league.
We really appreciate the sponsors and the organisers for putting up this kind of league in Nigeria, it will surely make our players get better.
|NCC Tennis League action: Eyes on the ball…|
How would you rate year 2016 generally?
It was a really good year for me as I won a couple of tournaments. I won the Dala tournament, I played well in the Governor’s Cup before winning the NCC League with my team. But I did not play as many tournaments as I would have loved to.
Hopefully, I shall get to play more this year so that I can get even better than I got last year.
What is the next stop for you?
In less than two weeks from now, I shall be heading to Barcelona, Spain where I shall be playing at the Set Ball Tennis Academy for the next three years. I really want to get better with my game.
Who is sponsoring this trip?
Rainoil is the sponsor. It’s like one of the packages I got for winning the Masters the other time, so the arrangement just clicked recently.
Don’t you think this will affect your Team Offikwu?
To be honest, I think they can cope without me, but it will be really sad to leave the team because of the bond we built in the course of last year.
|Sylvester believes his trip to Barcelona will not affect his team this season, although be believes it might be tough for them.|
And can the team cope without you?
I am certain they can cope without me, but I don’t know who the sponsor will decide to replace me with or bring to the team. I am just certain that they will cope without me but it will be quite tough for the guys.
Last year, you had a dream of reaching the top 500 in the world, were you disappointed that you could not meet up?
I wasn’t disappointed because I didn’t play as much tournament as I wanted last year.
So, what are your plans this year and how do you intend to play many tournaments?
You already know I’m going to Barcelona for training and tournaments, so I will hopefully get to play as many tournaments as I can lay my hands on and the goal I am setting again this year is to get to top 500 before the year ends.