The last time she won a tournament in Nigeria was a nervy end to her victory against then budding youngster, Sarah Adegoke, but not a single female player has been able to usurp Fatima Abinu in terms of Singles trophies won at the CBN Open in the last decade.
Such was her dominance in Nigerian tennis that her name was sure to cause panic in the hearts of opponents even before meeting her on the court, but she could not replicate this form on the international scene as she was not so successful on the pro-circuits.
If Abinu’s name caused a major scare for opponents, then Abdulmumin Babalola, the Nigerian Federer, remains the achilles heel of many male tennis players in the country as he has kept springing surprises with his championship winning feat.
|These two have won seven CBN Open tournaments between them in the last ten years, more than any other Nigerian tennis player.|
Of the 20 trophies (Men and Women’s Singles) available at the CBN Open since 2008, Babalola and Abinu have won seven between them, leaving about nine other players to share the remaining 13 among one another.
Even though Abinu has been outside Nigeria for about five years, her records in the last ten years look intact, and it does not appear as if any female player is ready to step into her heavy shoes just yet with Christine Agugbom and Russia-based Melissa Ifidzen the closest to her record with two tournament wins apiece.
Nigerian Tennis Live observed that for Babalola, the youngsters are no longer scared of him as they believe they can now defeat him. But their inconsistency has not matched their convictions about their ability to keep him out of the local tournaments; especially the CBN Open.
Monaco, as the fiery left-handed tennis legend is called by close friends and tennis associates, is also not giving up on his ability to still spring surprises in the tournament which has almost become his as he still remains the defending champion in the Men’s Singles.
Maybe the hosting of the 40th edition of the tournament in Abuja will change the rhetoric, and usher a new set of players who will dominate the CBN Open and indeed, other national tennis tournaments in the years to come.
Below is the list of players (male and female) to have won the CBN Open in the last ten years as compiled by Nigerian Tennis Live:
2008: Sunday Emmanuel and Christine Agugbom
2009: Abdulmumin Babalola and Fatima Abinu
2010: Sunday Emmanuel and Fatima Abinu
2011: Henry Atseye and Biola Akewula
2012: Abdulmumin Babalola and Fatima Abinu
2013: Henry Atseye and Ronke Akingbade
2014: Abdulmumin Babalola and Christine Agugbom
2015: Thomas Otu and Melissa Ifidzen
2016: Michael Moses and Melissa Ifidzen
2017: Abdulmumin Babalola and Sarah Adegoke