Apart from the fact that Nigerian players need more local and grassroots tournaments than the international competitions for their development, the sport has nosedived in the country.
This was the expert advice of top Nigerian tennis coach, Abel Ubiebi, who insisted that tennis in the country has not been the same in the past few years.
|Coach Abel is certainly a father of many babies…|
In an exclusive interview with Naija Tennis Special, the Lagos-based tennis coach and trainer noted without apologies that the new administrators on board the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) have a lot of work to do.
The brain behind Aces Tennis Academy stated also, that apart from the absence of tournaments for the players, training for coaches and umpires has also become a ‘scarce commodity’.
“In the last few years, Nigerian tennis has nosedived! It has nosedived in terms of tournaments for junior and senior players; this is no longer there. Even training for coaches and umpires is no more there.
|Eyes on the ball… Coach Abel seems to be telling one of his players during a recent tournament.|
“The incoming NTF president should concentrate more on grassroots tennis, that is where the game is. They should concentrate more on the grassroots and give us more championships at the local level. I am an advocate of local tournaments more than international ones.
“Our local tournaments will help our players gather some experience and get stronger. But if we even have few international tournaments, it does not have any positive effect on our players.
“More of grassroots tennis that will bring out the best in the players,” Coach Ubiebi further explained.
|Coach Abel and one of his players during a recent trip to the United States of America.|
While stressing the need for Nigeria to have more junior tennis tournaments than championships for the seniors, the vastly-traveled tennis handler noted: “Junior tennis in Nigeria is breaking through now and is giving us as a country a good image. You could see at the CBN that we had one of the juniors creating another record in the final.
“Then, Oyinlomo (Quadri) has broken into the top 200 level and would have done better if she had chances of playing more tournaments.
“At the boys’ level, having the top 400-600 and in senior tournaments in the country, you can find the juniors in semis and quarter finals which means the juniors are ready to take over in the next two to three years.
“At the local level… in the next two years, you shall see the juniors dominate the senior tournaments and winning. Next year, I believe you shall see only the juniors in the female finals.”