‘Nigerian Players Have A Long Way To Go’

Nigerian tennis players have been advised  to redouble their efforts if they want to make appreciable impact in the game of tennis.

This advice is coming from two foreign players, Russian Nina Bratchikova and Agnes Szatmari of Romania at the just concluded 10th Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship.

Nina and Agnes defeated the pair of Fatimah Abinu and Sabath Omotayo Ibrahim of Nigeria 6-0, 6-0 in the semi final of the Women’s Doubles of the Etisalat/FCMB sponsored tournament at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.

Nina and Agnes, while assessing the performance of the local players at the ITF approved championship, which ended on Saturday, said that Nigerian players still have a long way to go if they want to make considerable impact, not only in Governor’s Cup, but in their career in tennis.

“My experience at the Governor’s Cup in the past few years shows that the local players are playing  far below expected  standard in international tennis championships. For example, the semi final match I and Agnes played against your players was below standard. We beat them 6-0,6-0. We thought the match would be tough, but to my surprise,  it was an easy win for us. I think Nigerian players generally need to be exposed if they want to excel in their career,” she said.

In her own remark, Agnes counselled the Nigerian ladies to go out to play circuits instead of staying at home for tournaments, which are not forthcoming.

“Nigerian ladies still have a long way to go. If you watch the women’s doubles semi final we played against Fatimah and Sabath, it was not a tough match. I think what they need is exposure because they have the potential to go far in their career,” she said

Commenting on the standard and organisation of this year’s Governor’s Cup, Nina said she was impressed with the 10th edition, adding that the organisers have improved on the tourney tremendously.

“I came here last year to play this competition and I can see that this year’s edition is better organised. Let me congratulate the organisers for the success of the championship this year,” she said.

—Sunday Akintoye

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