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Why I ‘Idolize’ Uche Oparaoji – Mary Udoffa Opens Up In New Interview

Mary Udoffa, an 18-year-old tennis player from Akwa Ibom State, has spoken up on why she looks up to Uche Oparaoji as her tennis role model in Nigeria.

Despite being from a non-athletic family, Mary’s love for tennis was sparked by her father, who introduced her to the sport when she was just a hobbyist.

“I was watching TV with my dad, and he changed the channel to a tennis program. He asked me if I wanted to try it, and I said yes, thinking it would be a fun hobby,” Mary recalls.

That chance encounter led to Mary’s first tennis racket and a can of tennis balls, courtesy of her supportive father.

She began playing in Kwara State, where she grew up, and has since become a force to be reckoned with in Nigerian tennis.

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Mary’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges, however. She recalls her lowest point as a junior player, when she cried after losing a match 9-0.

Mary Udoffa playing her first ever national tournament at the Murtala Square, Kaduna, in 2014. Photo Credit: Google

But that defeat only fueled her determination to improve. “I promised myself that would be the last time I cried about a match,” she says.

With the guidance of her coach and father, Mary has developed a strong work ethic and a growth mindset.

“They tell me that every loss is just an experience, and that I need to keep training and perfecting my game,” she adds.

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Mary’s goals are ambitious: she wants to become a professional tennis player, known for her discipline, good sportsmanship, and prowess on the court.

She cites Uche Oparaoji, also known as Lefty as her Nigerian tennis role model because, according to her: “Even though he is left-handed and I’m right handed, I still see him as a role model because he plays like there’s nothing to lose.

Uche Oparaoji

“To me he has a unique style of play. That’s why I love to watch his match always.”

To achieve her goals, Mary Udoffa knows she needs to stay focused and calm under pressure. “I tell myself to stay calm before and during matches, and it’s been really helpful,” she says.

As she continues to rise through the ranks of Nigerian tennis, Mary’s ultimate goal is to become a professional, God-fearing tennis star.

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With her talent, dedication, and positive attitude, she is well on her way to achieving her dreams.

“I want to be a professional tennis player who inspires others with my game and my character,” Mary points out.

“I want to be a role model for young girls everywhere, showing them that with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals too.”


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