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First Time Officiating In Roland Garros – Nigerian Umpire Shares Experience

Rose Abu, one of Nigeria’s vastly experienced umpires could not contain her excitement after officiating at the French Open, aka Roland Garros.

The Acting Chairman of the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association (NTUA) was in Paris, France for three weeks where she officiated at a WTA event before moving to work at the French Open.

Upon her return, she organized a hugely successful Advantage All Tennis Workshop for female tennis umpires in Nigeria, the first of its kind in the country, as she wouldn’t stop buzzing from her experience at the Grand Slam.

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In a chat with Nigeria Tennis Live, she said: “This tournament in Paris was a very challenging one because it was my first time in Paris, and my first time in Roland Garros and my first Grand Slam on clay.

“I’ve done clay before now but this was totally different. It’s a Grand Slam and it’s Roland Garros. The way my team was coordinated was different from what I experienced in other tournaments.”

One of the reasons for having Nigerian umpires travel across the globe is to return to share their experience with their colleagues at home and Mrs. Abu, a former tennis player, confirms this, saying: “Nigerian umpires can benefit from my experience because we are giving back our experience to the country. I can’t go out, learn so much and keep it to myself.

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“I was very passionate about the first Advantage All event that we recently held in Nigeria where we were able to mentor new tennis officials and line judges, I took it personally because of the experience I had gathered from the tournament I was just coming from.

“It’s a win-win for us because when you go out there and see how things are done in a well-organized manner and you come back to share your experience with your fellow officials, it goes a long way.

“This year was different because it is every umpire’s dream to go to a Grand Slam. So, it was my first year officiating in Roland Garros and my excitement cannot be compared to working at other events.

“If other officials from Nigeria get this opportunity, we will be happy. Because what we are looking for is to see other officials have this kind of opportunity.

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“I know about three of us have been there (Grand Slam officiating) in recent times. The late Arinola Isa Kehinde Ijaola and myself. So, it’s worth celebrating if more officials get this opportunity as well”.

She also feels indebted to the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) as well as the French Tennis Federation for the opportunities they presented.

According to her: “I want to say a very big thank you to the Nigeria Tennis Federation for the platform given to Nigerian umpires to showcase our talents because if we did not get this platform from the federation, we will not have this opportunity to go out.

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“I want to say a big merci beaucoup to the French Tennis Federation for the opportunities given to us to come there to officiate in Roland Garros. We don’t take these opportunities for granted and we appreciate all they do to put us on the list and make us officiate in these big tournaments.

“I spent three weeks in Paris, the first week was spent at a WTA Tournament, Clarins Trophy, and we were there for one week before going to do Roland Garros.

“It was a very successful three weeks that I had in Paris and I’m very grateful for the opportunities”.

READ ALSO: NTUA Organizes First Ever Advantage All Workshop For Tennis Officials

Nigerian tennis followers, players, coaches and officials will be looking forward to sharing from the vastly traveled umpire’s wealth of experience whenever the need arises.



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