Respected junior tennis coach and former tennis player, Coach Margaret Olagundoye, has reacted to Marylove Edwards’s Girls Under 16 final loss to her Togolese counterpart at the ongoing African Junior Tennis Championships (AJC) in Lome, Togo.
The Nick Bolleteri Academy trainee who has been one of Nigeria’s brightest stars at the tournament which kicked off on Monday, 7 January, was defeated in a final set of the encounter which she looked like winning from the blast of the whistle.
In her submission, the former Nigerian number one female tennis player popularly addressed as Coach Maggi told Nigeria Tennis Live from her base that it is never easy playing on the french soil, and that you may not understand unless you been there before.
She explained that the home players are always ready to cheat, adding that the umpires may not readily make calls that should have been made because they’re with their fellow countrymen.
“I was there last year and it was terrible,” Coach Olagundoye began.
“A parent had to ask me to tell the daughter to stop playing and leave the court, but I told her that it doesn’t work that way, that she should allow the girl finish playing because God is in heaven and he sees everything. She eventually lost the match, though.
“The girl was playing and crying. I had to ask her to take water break and toilet break. That girl had to go for toilet break and that was when I was able to go to her in the toilet to tell her ‘this is a battle ground’, you have to be there in spirit. If you are crying, that means that you’ve given up.
“Don’t show any attitude, play the ball, the ball is your opponent; the girl is not your opponent. The ball and the net, those are your opponents. These are some of the things we’re always facing when we go there.
“I wish they can allow the president of the federation or the secretary to be coming, especially when they are in the semifinal or the quarterfinal, and watch the way these players are playing,” she added.
While explaining the harsh weather conditions that the players are likely to be exposed to which may affect their performances, the coach lamented badly how the players may have also been treated in a ‘foreign’ land.
According to her: “The same thing happened when we were playing them, we suffered. You will be playing, they will be yabbing you with French. You can be playing and not get water, anything they give you is the final fluid.
“You see all these conditions they face over there now? I give Marylove the kudos because she really did well. The scoreline showed that the game was so tight and anybody could have won it. It means she really fought with all her might.
“Kudos to Coach Abel and the other coach assisting him, they are really doing well. May God continue to strengthen them.”
After the final round of matches today, Team Nigeria will be starting the team event on Friday, 11 January, as the players look forward to giving their opponents a run for their money.
Nigeria Tennis Live will be ever present to follow up with updates from the team event and report to our teeming audience from all over the world.