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Mubarak Ayodeji Ganiyu: Another Ibadan Tennis Star On The Rise

Not since the days of legendary Abdulmumuni Babalola has Nigerian tennis witnessed the rise of another tennis prodigy from Ibadan. Then came Mubarak Ganiyu.

Ganiyu, born on 4 April, 2007, in Nigeria, has emerged as a promising young talent in the world of tennis. His journey began at a tender age when he discovered his passion for sports.

By the age of 10, Mubarak had decided to pursue tennis seriously, a decision largely inspired by his father, Tirimisiyu Ganiyu, who is the tennis head coach at the Oyo State Sport Council.

Ganiyu’s father has not only been a source of inspiration but also a guiding force in his budding career. “My dad is a tennis coach, and that kind of inspired me,” the youngster shares during a chat with Nigeria Tennis Live.

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His family has been a pillar of support, encouraging him to chase his dreams and providing the necessary resources to get him started in the sport. This familial backing has been instrumental in shaping the former national U-16 number one’s journey, helping him navigate the challenges that come with pursuing a career in professional tennis.

The path to success is rarely smooth, and Ganiyu’s journey has been no exception. 2023 was particularly challenging for him, as he faced a series of injuries and a mental breakdown. These setbacks significantly impacted his ability to compete, but his resilience shone through.

“Last year, I couldn’t do much with my tennis due to injuries and mental breakdown, but this year, I have few injuries, and I’ve been able to manage my mental health. Now, I’m ready to play!” he says with determination.

Despite his rigorous training and competitive schedule, Ganiyu is still a secondary school student. Balancing academics with sports can be demanding, but he has shown remarkable dedication in managing both.

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His ability to maintain this balance speaks volumes about his discipline and commitment to his aspirations. “Yes, I’m still a student,” the J60 Abuja finalist confirms, highlighting his focus on education alongside his tennis career.

His competitive spirit has seen him participate in numerous tournaments, with notable performances in various ITF competitions.

This year, he played in two weeks of ITF J30 tournaments in February. In the first week, he reached the semi-finals in Singles and the finals in Doubles, where he partnered with Seun Ogunsakin. The second week saw him reach the quarter-finals in Singles and the semi-finals in Doubles.

Continuing his streak, the Ibadan boy participated in J30 and J60 tournaments in June. In the first week, he lost in the first round of the Singles event but made it to the finals in Doubles, pairing with a player from China. The J60 week was particularly memorable for him, as he reached the finals in Singles and the quarter-finals in Doubles.

Of all these matches, the semis of the J60 stood out as the talented player’s most memorable match. Facing Joseph Jimoh Franklin, Mubarak’s determination to win was palpable. “I talked to myself that I needed the match, and I won,” he recalls.

This match taught him the importance of self-belief, a lesson that will undoubtedly serve him well in his future endeavors. “The lesson I learned after the match was to believe in myself,” the Abuja-based tennis talent reflects.

Mubarak Ganiyu J60 Abuja Final

Ganiyu is aware that consistency is key to his growth as a player. He continuously strives to be consistent in all aspects of his game. “I need to be consistent with everything,” he admits.

His favorite tennis player, Carlos Alcaraz, serves as a source of inspiration due to the similarities in their playing styles.

Among Nigerian players, Abdulmumin Babalola stands out for Ganiyu. He admires Babalola’s solid net play, a skill that Mubarak also excels in and seeks to perfect.

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“I like Abdulmumin Babalola because he’s very solid at the net, and I also like approaching the net,” the tennis youngster explains.

His dreams extend beyond personal success. He aspires to play at the highest level and to put Nigeria on the global tennis map. His journey so far, marked by perseverance, hard work, and an unyielding spirit, indicates that these dreams are well within reach.

Babalola remains one of the finest players to ever play tennis for Nigeria.

“I want to be able to play at the highest level. My dream is to put Nigeria on the world map in tennis,” Mubarak declares with ambition.

Ganiyu’s story is characterized by passion, resilience, and ambition. From being inspired by his father’s coaching to overcoming personal challenges, he has shown that he possesses the qualities of a true champion.

As he continues to grow and develop his skills, the future of Nigerian tennis looks bright with this talent at the forefront.


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