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Sheriff Lawal: From Studying Chemistry To Falling In Love With Tennis

Sheriff Lawal, a fresh graduate of Chemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) is definitely destined for greatness in tennis.

In the world of university tennis in Nigeria, one of the several talented players making a name for themselves is this 25-year-old tennis whizkid.

Lawal has come a long way in tennis, from being inspired by just watching tennis matches on the TV to becoming the captain of the university’s tennis team. His journey is a testament to the power of dedication, passion, and hard work.

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And as Nigeria prepares for the fast approaching All Africa University Games (FASU), our talented player is one of the students Nigerians should be looking out for.

“I was watching tennis on TV before I came to FUTA. I was like, ‘Since I’m not occupied with a lot of stuff, let me go and check it out.’ So, I came and met the captain, and he was very friendly. That’s how I started,” Lawal recounts in a chat with our correspondent in Akure, his eyes sparkling with enthusiasm.

As a student-athlete, Lawal has learned to manage his time effectively. “I make sure every hour counts. I don’t waste my time like that. I know I’m a tennis player, and I really want this, but school is the primary reason I’m here,” he said.

Lawal Sheriff

His dedication to both his academics and tennis is admirable, and he attributes his success to his ability to prioritize and manage his time wisely.

Lawal’s passion for tennis is evident in the way he talks about the game, the passion he exudes shows one that will most likely go far in the sport.

“People love the game, we get to meet a lot of people from different schools, a lot of players with different skills, different ideas.

“For me, the most fun part of the game is bringing people into the game, teaching people how to play,” he said, while explaining that he finds joy in mentoring new players and seeing them grow and improve.

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Lawal draws inspiration from tennis greats like Novak Djokovic, whom he admires for his dedication and hard work.

“He has a level of greatness that is inspiring. If you understand what it takes to be at the top of everything, you would know that this guy has put in a lot of work,” he said about the Serbian tennis legend.

One of Lawal’s most memorable matches was against Akinloye Opeyemi, his talented opponent whom he had to defeat to show he was ready to face the outer world.

According to him: “It was a very tough match, and I’m grateful I won. It was really challenging for me, but I put in everything, and it came out well.”

The match was a defining moment for Lawal, as he was able to prove to himself and others that he has what it takes to be a top player.

Lawal’s short-term goal is to lead his team to victory in the upcoming NUGA games.

“I really hope that the team we’re going out with will perform excellently better than the last NUGA,” he revealed while his long-term goal is to become a tennis coach, and he’s already working towards that by pursuing a diploma course in FUTA.

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Even though he will soon be leaving FUTA, Lawal believes that the institution needs tennis equipment to be able to compete with other schools in tennis.

“When you don’t use the right equipment, it will limit your abilities. I think one thing that can improve tennis generally in FUTA is maybe the management providing the right equipment,” the Chemistry major noted.

Lawal’s story is a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and hard work. As he continues to inspire and mentor new players, his legacy on and off the court is sure to be felt for years to come.

“I always tell people that a great weapon that can help you in tennis is your decision-making, the ability to make the right decision at the right time. I think for me, that’s something I have been able to condition myself to do. I make sure that what I’m supposed to do, I do it at the right time.”

Nigeria Tennis Live will keep introducing new players from different universities ahead of the Games which will also be reported by our medium.


  1. This is my captain and my mentor.
    All I know about tennis, he helped me with it.

    Ola!!!!! As he calls himself.
    I’m proud of you skippo!!!!

    Much love Lawal Sheriff. O

  2. As one of the students he mentored in tennis at FUTA, I can honestly say that Sheriff is a true inspiration both on and off the court.

  3. Aside from being a coach, I also learnt a lot from him both academically and the others. No matter how you hate tennis, you'll fall in love with it when you have someone like sheriff as your teacher trust me

  4. Much love to this young man
    He took me in and now I'm far better than when I came
    He deserves the best in the coming games

  5. Sheriff a man passionate and dedicated to the game of tennis .... see you at the top champ.
    A great teacher and mentor

    Much love from Boldam

  6. Sherif Lawa is a testament of pure passion and hard work in the game of Tennis.
    I saw first hand how he revived the FUTA tennis team and fostered bonds of brotherhood, turning it into a family open to every and any one who shares the singular love and interest for The Game.
    Seeing how he carried everyone along; giving attention and warmth to freshers and new intakes who often feel intimidated ,and at the same time drilling the OGs who play at a higher level, was all inspiring.
    Even though there's a lot ahead for you to achieve, it is not too early to take you flowers.
    Big ups Capo. Cheers to greater heights.


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