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Tennis: Don’t Write Us Off, Nigerian Players Plead  print

Published on October 17, 2013 by   ·   2 Comments

•Candy Idoko

•Sarah Adegoke. Photos: Emmanuel Osodi

With a number of Nigerian tennis players bidding goodbye to the ongoing Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship, some of them have posited that they should not write off their compatriots, who are still in contention.

The players, who spoke with P.M.NEWS Sports, lamented their losses in the first leg of the Etisalat/FCMB sponsored tournament which came in bizarre fashions. They still maintained that they could have living up to expectations if ‘square pegs are put in square holes’.

•Candy Idoko

•Candy Idoko

According to wild card entrant, Samuel Omoile, Nigerians’ losses further showed the gulf in class between the local players and their foreign counterparts who are always exposed to major tournaments throughout the year as opposed to the Nigerians who are always lucky to have one Governor’s Cup Tennis in a calendar year.

“It’s quite unfortunate that many of us could lose out to these foreign players. Most of those foreigners are coming to Lagos from tournaments and they will be leaving Lagos to other tourneys.

“But we are always lucky to have one in a year. Things rarely work for us in this competition because we lack match fitness,” Omoile, who was the only ‘senior’ player at the camping programme organised for top Nigerian tennis players by Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, in conjunction with the Local Organising Committee, LOC.

•Sarah Adegoke. Photos: Emmanuel Osodi

•Sarah Adegoke. Photos: Emmanuel Osodi

Speaking in the same vein, Nigeria’s highest ranked ATP player, Sanni Adamu, said that it was painful that he did not have the opportunity of playing many championships prior to the Governor’s Cup.

Adamu opined that his recent return from Rwanda (where he went to play an ITF-pro circuit), really boosted his self confidence as he stepped up his game to defeat former national champion, Shehu Lawal,2-6,6-4,6-3, in the first round fixture on Monday.

In his words: “From what I have seen so far, it’s not that those foreigners are superior to us, but the dearth of tournaments is  killing us.

“My recent ITF tournament on clay court in Rwanda boosted my confidence against Shehu, who is a big player. You too can do your calculations well and imagine how well I’d have performed if I had been going for such championships throughout the year.”

Adamu also added, “It’s unfortunate, though, but Nigerians should understand that it isn’t our fault that we performed the way we did”

—Damilare Okunola

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Posted by on October 17, 2013, 1:34 pm. Filed under Sports, Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments for “Tennis: Don’t Write Us Off, Nigerian Players Plead”

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  2. Ambrose Okpokpo

    2 RESPONSES TO AN INTERVIEW WITH THE LEGENDARY NIGERIAN TENNIS STAR, DR. SADIQ ABDULLAHI

    Ambrose Okpokpo | October 13, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Reply
    Please correctly spell Philip Okpokpo as Peter Okpokpo

    tennisnigeria | October 14, 2013 at 4:00 am | Reply
    Thank you Ambrose for bringing this to our attention. Baseline: Tennis Nigeria at times, publishes material provided by other sources and authors who are solely responsible for the accuracy of the material. Where we are able to establish the accuracy or the authenticity of material published on this website, we shall make every effort to make the correction.

    Agyeno,
    Publisher

    Ambrose Okpokpo | October 16, 2013 at 12:34 am | Reply
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Thanks for picking up my response and for making the corrections. Nigerian tennis is not really in a sorry state. There are many Nigerians who are playing more weekend tennis and professional tennis classics and they are not playing for the big championships, so they are not well known. The small championships are cheap and easy to get into and this why some Nigerians that would have scored big on the ATP tour chose to play tennis cheap. Nigerian tennis players are alive and well but they are lacking sponsorship so many of them have taken to work in areas that took them away from tennis except weekend tennis. In weekend tennis, it means go play matches without practice. You can call this unambitious tennis playing or please sponsor me tennis players kind of attitudes. I have gone to a match, were a Nigerian played to the finals of a major classic and once they got to the finals or after winning, all they got was a trophy. You can see that, in the ending, they were still broke without any monetary rewards. Sometimes, the finalist and everyone gets to share a watermelon. Sometimes, this is the state of Nigerian tennis for now and it does not mean that Nigerian tennis is in a sorry state. We are here and we can compete and we would come out to make Nigerian tennis shine.

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