The newly elected President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Ifedayo Akindoju on Tuesday unwittingly berated the administration of immediate past president of the body, Sani Ndanusa, following his declaration that the nation’s tennis had not measured up to expectation in recent years. Ndanusa was NTF president for 16 years.
Speaking with journalists during a press conference to herald the 17th Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis at the Lagos Tennis Club, Onikan, yesterday, Akindoju declared: “There is a partway to achieving greatness in tennis, but we are not absolutely on that part as a country. That is why as a federation, we are concentrating on four core areas; facilities development, players development, coaching development and officiating development.”
“As we speak today, only eight Nigerian tennis players are ranked, and they got their points while featuring in tournaments in Nigeria. The highest ranked player we have in Nigeria today is around 1,163. We are embarking on serious grassroots programmes to give Nigerian tennis the solid foundation.
“With tournament like the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, we are exposing our younger players to have that platform to express themselves and then interact with their counterparts from foreign countries,” the NTF boss stated.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, Chief Pius Oluwole Akinyelure has declared that the tournament has become a household name in Futures Tournaments in world tennis circle.
“Of the 73 Futures Tournaments in the whole world this month, only two in America, two in Italy, one in Spain, Sweden, France and Kazakistan march the prize money of Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis,” Akinyelure said.
“Even those Futures do not have hospitality thrown in as a bonus as we have with Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis,” he added.
This year’s edition of the tournament, which will run from October 7 to 21, will see 540 players from 67 countries battling for the $100,000 prize money at stake.
Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye has explained why the LOC recently initiated that people should pay to watch the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship.
“The championship is being played by many top world players and it is only fair enough to have people pay to watch them in action,” he explained.
Fans coming to watch the players at Lagos Tennis Club, Onikan will have to buy tickets of N1,500 for popular seat and a maximum of N5,000 for the VIP seat. “Even though the payment format is not on a full scale, there has to be a beginning to it. We can’t be watching the best players play without paying to watch them. We had to start the option of making people pay before watching. We must have some level of payment for entertainment.