In the last two to three years, Nigerian tennis had been buzzing with reports about young tennis prodigy, Mary-Love Edwards, following her scintillating performances on the court where she has taught bigger opponents some tennis lessons with her sublime skills.
|Mary-Love Edwards, needs to re-enact the form that made her a crowd favourite|
The young lass had been a revelation and at her tender age, has won more trophies than many senior players. A colleague of hers had only last year, told her to retire from tennis because she had won many racquets, shoes, balls, bags and other tennis items from tournaments that she had competed in compared to most of her superior colleagues.
But for about six months now, the 10-year old star, who has also traveled to several European countries on scholarship training, has managed to win only a handful of tournaments.
Naija Tennis Special findings have revealed that her recent ouster from the top spot has been more about the emergence of Dubai-based Angel McCleod, who has defeated Edwards in virtually every final match they have both played in, than a loss of form.
In fact, during last week’s MP Tiger Tennis Championship at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, Lagos, Edwards was booted out of the semis of the Girls’ 16 by her nemesis, McCleod, who would later succumb to Oyinlomo Quadri in the final match.
Although she is yet to attain 13 years- the age required for her to compete in any Junior ITF Championship- Edwards had been the U-12, U-14 & U-16 Champion before McCleod returned from Dubai to wrestle the dominance from her.
|Angel McCleod and Mary-Love Edwards at the NNPC/SNEPCo tournament, where Edwards started losing ground against the half-caste|
Off the court, they (McCleod & Edwards) are both friends, but on the court, they are always ferocious against each other.
But with other players catching up quickly and Quadri hitting top form alongside McCleod, it it yet to be seen how the youngster- whose role model is Serena Williams- will up her game and rise to the occasion.
And many ardent followers of Nigerian tennis will be hoping that her case is not reminisce of players who came into limelight, only to fade off when they were expected to shine the most.