US-based Sylvester Emmanuel is one of Nigeria’s top youngsters who have taken Nigerian tennis by storm. He is the younger brother of former national champion, Sunday Emmanuel, who is also in the United States of America. In this exclusive interview with Naija Tennis Special, he bares his mind on his future aspirations and he hopes to achieve them.
How long have you been in the United States?
I have been here for couple of weeks.
What exactly have you been up to lately?
Lately, I have been working really hard and also preparing for some international tournaments here on Florida.
Are you disappointed that you did not go far in the Governor’s Cup last year?
Well, I am not disappointed because losing is part of the game and that was my first futures. Inspite of the loss, I gained a lot of experience and hopefully, will come out big in the next one.
|Sylvester Emmanuel (left) receiving instruction from a senior tennis player during a 2015 NCC Tennis League match|
How do you hope to improve on your ITF ratings?
At this point, playing a lot of matches is the most important thing. I have registered for about six to eight weeks of futures in Florida and I am seeking sponsorship to be able to play about 20 to 25 weeks of futures which will help me gain experience and move my ranking hopefully to top 200 in the world.
(On a lighter mood) Do you get to take Nigerian meals in the US?
Well yes I do eat Nigeria food as much as I can get here.
Comparing Nigerian tennis with that of the US, what do you think we need to do right?
Well they are two different ball games entirely.
Could you kindly expatiate?
The major differences between them are the organisation, the environment and facilities. These are things that the Americans have more than Nigerians. They have better structures than we do and that is why many things work for them more than they do for us.
How many tournaments have you played since you got to the US?
Well I have played three local tournaments in ahead of my international tournament.
Is there anyone which you have won?
The first one, I lost in the second round and in the other two, I got to semifinals.
Which aspect of your game do you think you still need to work on?
Well, I believe that I need to work on my consistency! That is one area which I believe can help me move up the ladder quite quickly and make people know how much time and energy I put into practice and training always.
What Futures have you put in for in the United States?
Weston Palm coast Plantation, Boca raton. That’s the name of the futures.
What is your target for this year?
My target this year is I want to make it to top the 300 in the world.