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Nigerian Umpires Who Were Invited, Officiated At 2023 Grand Slams

Nigerian umpires, more than the more ‘popular’ players, are the ones who are really putting Nigeria on the world map as this report will show.

We will have to go back in time to find out when a Nigerian player made it to the preliminary stage of any Grand Slam event, let alone participate in the main event, but our umpires, they are doing well.

Nigerian umpires are among the best all over the world, and like their counterparts from other parts of the world, they always strive to be the best they can be.

Today, we highlight our umpires who were invited for different Grand Slam events in 2023, as well as those who eventually participated in the competitions.

READ ALSO: Meet Aisha Hirse, The Only African Tennis Umpire Officiating At An ATP Challenger Event In Australia (Photos)

Musa Saidu

Mr. Saidu is one of Nigeria’s most revered umpires who has been to a number of international tournaments including the Olympics and All Africa Games.

His popularity within and outside Africa stems from the fact that he is among the few Bronze Badge umpires around and is frequently handy for top competitions within the region.

Nigeria Tennis Live can confirm that he was invited for this year’s Wimbledon competition but he declined to participate, and when he was contacted, explained why he decided against participating in 2023.

Musa Saidu

According to Mr. Musa: “Yeah, I was invited for Wimbledon but I declined.

“First, the schedule didn’t fit into my itinerary at the time, plus it didn’t make sense to spend so much money on flight and other things just to work for five days.

“To be honest, the GS was not my priority now, I already had my share of it already when I needed it for my career progression”.

Kehinde Ijaola

This efficient, vibrant, energetic, active former chairman of the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association is one of Nigeria’s more popular officials.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Female Umpires Shine At First Ever ITF ‘Advantage All’ Seminar In South Africa

The Ogun-based umpire is another vastly traveled, lowkey Nigerian umpire who tries as much as possible to not blow his own trumpet even when everyone is insisting on showcasing him to the world.

In 2023, he was invited to the French Open and Wimbledon Open events, and he was present at both competitions, and such was his performance that his pictures from Roland Garros went viral.

Kehinde Ijaola

It was not the first time the White Badge umpire was officiating at the RG and WO competitions, though, as he explained that he had done it in 2022, and was reinvited for the 2023 editions.

“I had applied since I got my White Badge in 2010 but they never selected me. But last year, I was invited for the Roland Garros and Wimbledon and also this year.

“And that was the first time a Nigerian official would be invited to Grand Slam events back-to-back. It was a unique thing that happened to me and I was very happy to have been that person.

“What excited me the most was the experience, meeting different officials, learning a lot of things. When I got back, I was able to share my on-court experience with other officials.

Kehinde Ijaola RG

“And to be honest, it was because I did well that I was reinvited, because after every event, they rate you and give you your score, and this year’s rating was better than last year’s rating for both Roland Garros and Wimbledon Open.

“I’m grateful to God that I did not remain on the same spot in terms of line officiating, chair umpiring in Nigeria and outside of the country too,” Mr. Ijaola told Nigeria Tennis Live.

He was among the line umpires from the qualifiers of the event to the Main Draw and was there till the Quarterfinal stage of the Grand Slam.

READ ALSO: 2015 Wimbledon Open: Nigerian Umpire, Saidu Musa Eyes Top Post

Arinola Isa

One of the gifts God gave tennis in Nigeria, is pushing Mrs. Arinola Isa our way. She REMAINS a gift that the tennis world will never stop tapping from.

She was at the 2022 edition of the Wimbledon Open and was asked to return for the 2023 edition but she respectfully declined due to her health condition at the time.

Little did she know that the 2022 would be her last appearance at one of the most prestigious tournaments in world tennis.

Mrs. Arinola Isa

In 2015, former Nigeria Tennis Federation President, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, had described her as one of those who were quickly climbing the ladder in world officiating and predicted that it would not be too long before she reached the peak.

“Arinola Isa is another referee who is moving up steadily and very soon we hope he will graduate to the bronze badge,” he had declared.

Even though she is not present here with us at this time, Nigeria and world tennis followers will not forget this ever-lively woman with a pure heart for humanity and who was very loved by all.

READ ALSO: Rose Abu: The Beautiful Immigration Officer Who Plays, Officiates Tennis

Rose Abu

Another powerful name on this list is Madam Rose, the multi-faceted tennis umpire who is a very hardworking woman as well.

By profession, Mrs. Abu works with the Nigeria Immigration Service; by passion, the beautiful mother is a (now retired) national tennis player; by extension, she is a tennis umpire. She also runs a business by the side – phew!

There were many highlights for this beautiful and elegant woman in 2023, but the icing on the cake would be her participation at the 2023 Wimbledon Open.

Rose Onoja Abu

Apart from this, though, she was the Chair Umpire at the finals of the first-ever Para Africa Games in Accra, Ghana, a feat which will go down in history.

Like two others on this list, Mrs. Abu is also a White Badge umpire whose cap is consistently being laced with many feathers.

Congratulations to all our umpires and their giant strides and this is wishing them many more successes in year 2024.



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