The organizers of the Rock Tennis Foundation Tennis Clinic/Tournament have unveiled plans for the fifth edition of the annual competition.
The 2024 edition of the event which holds every year at the Abeokuta Sports Club, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, has been upgraded, especially for the boys and girls 16 & Unders categories.
Nigeria Tennis Live gathered that players from across Nigeria can now participate in the U-16 category, as it is now a national contest which will attract some of the best young players from every part of the federation.
Mr. Kehinde Ijaola, the competition’s coordinator, told Nigeria Tennis Live that the tournament will be run side by side with a clinic for five days, as they have always done since the inception of the event.
He explained, also, that: “We have written letter to almost all the states and we are expecting them to come around for the competition. This year, we had about eight to ten States, but this year, we are expecting more.
“We understand the timing being the beginning of the year, but that’s what the sponsors what.
“We have other Coordinators. The Coaches in the State are also the ones assisting in doing the Coaching Clinic, and the coaches from South west also assisted in handling the Coaching Clinic.”
While explaining the tweak to this year’s edition, Mr. Ijaola, a White Badge Umpire, noted that “We will have boys and girls 16 & Unders as National Tournaments, other categories like 10, 12, 14 will be for Ogun Closed, our players in the State will participate in those, to showcase their talents, and see the level of their growth in the past year.
“This is an Academy that is run by Volunteers, no government involvement. The people sponsoring it, some of them are past tennis players in Ogun State, Some are lovers of tennis that live in Ogun State, and we are now trying to get some associates from Canada. They are trying to come in so, we are looking into that as well.
“The State Tennis Association is aware of what we are doing, we also invited the NTF representatives the last time, including the President. He could not make it, but some of the board members were able to attend.
“We pool our players from schools, give them food, shirts, drink and do three to four hours clinic before moving to the tournament so the next episode, we will be giving prizes to winners and the semifinalists like the last episode.
“We are hoping that this year will be better. It’s a competition that we are happy to continue staging because we see improvements in our players.
“We have our Patron. Justice Demola Bakre (rtd) OON, as well as a host of sponsors.
“Our goal is to see how our players can represent the country at international competitions. We’re also planning to have our players also play ITF tournaments across different countries.”
The annual junior competition and clinic will hold at the Abeokuta Sports Club, Abeokuta, from Tuesday, 2 January to Saturday, 6 January, 2024.