Governor’s Cup 2016: The Good, The Bad… The Ugly (Photos)
The 16th Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship has already been won and lost, and yet again, no Nigerian made it to final rounds of matches.
This stat will look to many like a norm, especially as most people do not expect the home guys to go beyond the first or second round in the Singles, and maybe the quarters in the Doubles.
|Sylvester Emmanuel’s dreams of being among the Top 500 in the world before the end of this year may have been dashed, but he put up spirited performances.|
But this year’s tournament was a great eye opener for prospective sponsors – if there really are – as the players shone like a million.
Naija Tennis Special has therefore come up with an X-ray of the Nigerian players’ performance during the two-week event.
Clifford Enosoregbe Is Back
Love him or hate him, the former national champion is a great player, not many tennis followers in Nigeria would doubt this fact.
After been ousted as Nigeria’s top tennis player, the Edo-born former NPA Tennis Open winner has continued his steady return to fitness.
His performance at this year’s tournament – which had more top ranked players – showed that the one hand backhand tennis pro is a player to beat.
He lost out to a greater opposition in the quarterfinal and second round of the first and second legs respectively, but proved that he is no push over.
|With some more ITF Futures, Enosoregbe still presents Nigeria with a great opportunity to win the Governor’s Cup next year|
Enosoregbe had been tipped to be among the top 500 players in the world, he is not far from achieving this. However, his steady development had been stunted by lack of sponsorship.
If he gets a sponsor and continue with the NCC Tennis League matches, Clifford is a player to watch out for on the circuits.
Another GOOD is the fact that ‘several’ Nigerian players are now on ITF rankings, especially those who had not done enough to make it to the ratings of late.
Joseph Imeh, Mohammed Mohammed, Anthony Obekpa were also players who showed just how talented Nigerian tennis players are, they should be mentored quickly and appropriately!
Nigerian Stars Lost Focus Where It Mattered Most
Those who watched Nigerians lose after churning out great performances would have sworn that the local stars were better on the day.
Christian Paul, the ONLY Nigerian player to enter the Main Draw of the tournament based on his ranking, was beaten by a slightly superior foreigner in one of the early matches of the tournament’s first leg.
His coach, Babatunde Abe was left to rue his player’s chances and after the encounter, he told Naija Tennis Special that the Abuja-based tennis player deserved something from the game.
|Nomso Madueke is one of the Nigerian players who did not perform up to his capability at the just concluded Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship.|
“He lost the match due to anxiety and some avoidable mistakes,” the America-trained tennis specialist noted.
And although he defeated a power-playing Alexis Klegou from Benin Republic in two straight sets, Enosoregbe still showed signs that Nigerian players are lagging behind in terms of technicality.
The defeat of the highly-rated Beninoise was a major upset for the home boy, but Enosoregbe could have as well lost out on this encounter after playing to his opponent’s strong points.
Sylvester Emmanuel, one of the players – like Enosoregbe – who showed great promise at the early stages of the tournament, was also blown away by regular and eventual winner, Perez-Lopez Enrique in a game which was won with experience and a bit of technique by the Spaniard.
Our Players Return To Square One
After this tournament, most of the participants will proceed to other Futures in other parts of the continent or even the world, but our players will spend the ‘coins’ they won from the tournament on a few things and wait for another national tournament – maybe Dala Hard Court – for another opportunity to win monies.
This is a really sad event which happens to our players on a yearly basis, which often results in their inability to stand against their foreign counterparts when the chips are down.
Last year, the duo of Paul and Michael Moses had the luxury of playing ITF Futures on the continent courtesy of their Tombim Tennis boss, Edmund Ajoge, but that partnership seems to have been tampered with presently.
|Absence of sponsorship is likely to force Nigerians back to their shells, where they will await the next ‘money-spinning’ tournament|
Most of our players now rely on themselves to play tournaments outside the country, a situation which seems alien to the players they compete against on the continent.
There is still hope for these players as the NCC league offers them the privilege to be match fit all year through.
Until we start getting it right with sponsorship of these players and their coaches to international competitions, Nigerians should never expect our world-class local champions to win any ITF-rated tournament in any part of the world.