Where Does Ekpenyong Rank Among Top 10 African Players?
Nigeria’s golden boy, David Ekpenyong, is currently racking up the numbers, and proving to be one of best tennis youngsters around.
He is not just racking the numbers locally, he has taken the world of tennis by storm, traveling from Togo to Ivory Coast, to Tunisia, Egypt, Canada, Rwanda, showing the world what a player he is.
Since his first Junior ITF triumph in Lome, Togo, where he copped the J4 (not J60) event, there has been no looking back for this Nigerian teenager.
His records are there for all to see, and he has remained humble despite his successes. But where does he rank among the top 10 African juniors?
Even though the current ranking displayed on the ITF website does not seem to be clear, Ekpenyong is now number nine of the top ten ranked African junior players on the ITF.
Of the players in the top 10, the Nigerian, fondly called Mr. Lanky, has played only 20 tournaments, and that number is the fewest among the best in Africa.
In fact, of the players in the top half of the first ten best players, only Egypt’s Nour Fathalla (21) and Reda Bennani (25) from Morocco seem to be the closest to the Nigerian player in number of tournaments played.
Interestingly, Morocco has three players as the top three of the highest ranked African players, according to the rankings obtained by Nigeria Tennis Live.
Further checks revealed that Ilyas Fahim, the number two African junior player, participated in the Junior US Open a few weeks ago, and has been playing J300 events across Europe and America in the past few weeks.
In total, he has played 41 tournaments and looks like a really solid player going by his profile.
Meanwhile, Bennani, the topmost ranked African player, did not play the US Open, but got to the second round of the French Open, also this year, and played to the third round of a J500 event in Milan prior to that.
Most of the other players on the top ranking list have been most participating in J100, J300 and J500 competitions over the past few weeks, even though the outcome of their performances have not been the best.
For what it is and what it’s worth, Nigeria’s Ekpenyong seems to be in great company of really strong and amazing players, as Africa’s best juniors.
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The next step, it would seem, for the Nigerian tennis prodigy, would be to see him go toe-to-toe against some of these players who, like him, will be leaving the juniors in the next one year or thereabouts.
He is currently in Accra, Ghana, where he is playing for the quarterfinal of J100 tournament, and there are talks about him traveling further for more J200 and J300 events after the second week of J100 in Ghana.
But given the current situation of other players and his own trajectory, where do you think Ekpenyong will end in 2023 among the list of elite junior players in Africa?