|Moses Michael is first Nigerian to win the Governor’s Cup this year
|Clifford Enosoregbe won two straight titles towards the end of the year
Tennis in Nigeria has been in a lull state for some years now, with the players and their coaches consistently complaining about dearth of tournaments.
Many had even written off Nigerian tennis, stating emphatically that tennis was no longer in existence in the country due to the poor state which the racquet game had been left.
But, this year has been quite eventful and the players believe this year would go down as one of the best in recent times, especially as they had a run of tournaments for four consecutive weeks.
Speaking on the recent change in fortune for Nigerian tennis, number one male tennis player, Clifford Enosoregbe, noted that the players would not have asked for a better year than what they had in the outgoing year.
The Dala Hard Court 2014 winner said that “looking at the way the tournaments were positioned this year, one would say that it was a really great set up.
“I only hope that we continue this way in the foreseeable future because that’s the only way we can remain fit throughout the year.”
Sharing the same sentiment is youngster, Sylvester Emmanuel, who won the inaugural Ikoyi Tennis Masters. He believes that if the events of 2014 continue in the country, it will not be too long before the younger players dominate Nigerian tennis.
The Governor’s Cup Semifinalist added, “this is the best year so far for me in Nigerian tennis considering the number of local tournaments that we had. It has to continue that way.”
Sarah Adegoke, who retained her number one spot on the log after winning the Dala Hard Court 2014 Women’s Singles title a few weeks ago, hailed Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, for a job well done in 2014.
The Governor’s Cup Women’s Doubles winner stated that the tournaments this year helped her fitness level and confidence and she cannot but ask for more in 2015.
“When you play a lot, your confidence grows and you go on a winning streak which keeps you fit as well. With the tournaments that we had this year, I ended up winning the Dala tournament. I am sure if we have more, I can do better,” she said.
Coach Benson Ishicheli, who led the Nigerian contingent to the World Team Cup in Egypt early this year, believes that the now rested Port Harcourt Open can be revived if only the federation would take to his advice.
“Honestly, the fact that the players were kept busy for four consecutive weeks brought the best out of a lot of them. Even the younger players are beginning to defeat the senior ones.
“I am certain that if the federation goes to the club where the late Speaker was a member, some of them would see a reason to do something for their late colleague instead of just allowing the tournament to die just like that,” the coach noted
Assistant national coach for wheelchair tennis players, Kayode Savage also maintained that, “I attended all the major tournaments in the country this year and I can assure you that there was a great improvement on the part of the players.
“This signifies that if the players are kept busy throughout the year, the federation’s work will be made easier; tennis in Nigeria will reach its crescendo.”
President, Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, in his remark, appreciates the sponsors of the respective tournaments.
The erstwhile President, Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC said: “without our sponsors, there is no way we would have had any of the tournaments. The media were also helpful because without their publicity, there’s no way people would have heard about our tournaments.
“We assure the players and stakeholders in tennis that 2015 shall be greater than what was experienced this year. We are really grateful.”