The 17th edition of the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship may have ended with the winners and losers already relishing other challenges, but there are still echoes from the annual ITF-rated championship.
Before the commencement of the pro-circuit in Lagos, the organisers had asked intending spectators to buy tickets from Naija Tickets Shop and Ariya Tickets online at the rate of N1,500 and N5,000 for Regular and VIP stands respectively.
And this had created a lot of murmurings by tennis lovers and enthusiasts who stated that Nigerian tennis competitions had not gotten to the level where people will be asked to pay to watch tennis action.
The Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye tried to clear the air on this during the press conference in Lagos, where he explained that the plan was to have Nigerians get used to paying to watch top tennis action, but this did not go down well with some sections of the public.
|Some of the spectators who paid to watch world class tennis action inside the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan over two legs.|
On completion of the tournament, Nigerian Tennis Live asked some spectators who bought tickets what they thought about the new development added to the annual Futures, and there were mixed reactions to the question.
One of the men who bought a ticket for the regular stand, said: “I am disappointed about the sales of tickets. How can they ask us to buy tickets before coming to watch Governor’s Cup?
“What improvement have they added to the tournament’s organization that warrants the purchase of tickets? Nigeria is not mature yet for this kind of thing, please, tell them to stop it and work on other ways of improving the tournament.
“Everyone who comes here is a stakeholder in tennis in one way or the other, why would they be made to go through that hassle?
“I am really unhappy o, just tell the organisers.”
Speaking also on the matter was Enoch Ekpe, a tennis enthusiast who believes the organisers did a good job by asking people to buy tickets but that he was not sure if Nigerians were ready for it yet.
|The explanations given by Prince Wale Oladunjoye on why they had to make people pay to watch Governor’s Cup seemed to have fallen on deaf ears with the people’s lamentations.|
According to the former tennis player: “When we improve our tournaments and our tennis, we can have such developments in place.
“Our ‘brothers’ always do better than us because of the number of tournaments that they participate in before coming here and when they leave here. I’m not sure we have hosted a junior ITF circuit in Nigeria before.
“And if we are taking gate pass and the money is going into development of the place for people to see, they will not murmur about buying tickets. But if after the sales of the tickets, nothing changes, the people will not be happy.
“So, they have to explain where the money is going into and what development they are making to the sport generally.”