After four years of steadily sponsoring ITF Futures in Nigeria, Edmond Ajoge, the sole sponsor of Tombim Abuja Open, says it is time to return to grassroots tennis.
In an exclusive chat with Nigerian Tennis Live in Abuja, dark-skinned Ajoge expressed his disappointment with Nigerian players not being able to hold their own against their foreign counterparts during Futures event.
|Ajoge wonders when a Nigerian will be able to lay hands on the utmost prize on the circuit.|
Ajoge, who said getting as high as possible on the ITF rankings was one of the major aims of sponsoring a Futures tournament in Nigeria, stated emphatically that this aim was being repeatedly defeated while the other – to give back to the society – is constantly being achieved.
“We are not happy that we are not achieving one of the aims of sponsoring ITF Futures in Nigeria, which is to help Nigerian players get as many ranking points as possible.
“The second part is to give back to the society which we are achieving. But I seriously don’t know why the players are not getting the ranking points,” he lamented.
Asked what he thinks can be done to salvage the situation, he blurted out without mincing words, that: “the final option we have now is to go back to the grassroots and encourage a new set of players to come out.
|A return to grassroots tennis can almost guarantee Nigerians of an ITF Futures win in the nearest future.|
“The idea is to run tournaments, identify these talents and see how we can put them together to run a proper training programme for them. That’s the next thing we are trying to do now and I believe it will yield positive fruits.”
On the next stage for the ITF Futures in Nigeria, grey-bearded Ajoge informed that there are chances that the country hosts a Challenger series if the approval for such is given by the ITF.
He said: “The way it is now, we shall continue with the Futures, and hopefully see if we can get the license for a Challengers.”