By Ebenezer Osamo –
After series of spectacular performances by Clifford Enosoregbe this year, the Edo-born tennis star is set to end the year as Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, eyeonthesports.com can report.
In a year which has seen Enosoregbe play in the finals of two national competitions; the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Open and Dala Hard Court Championship, and he won of the tourney.
The former junior tennis player has done enough to see him usurp former champion and regular number one, Abdulmumuni Babalola.
Enosoregbe, who started playing in the national competitions in 2009, believes that it is just one of those things that comes as a reward for hard work and consistency.
He also claimed that since his 2011 All Africa Games gold medal feat in the doubles event with Onyeka Mbanu, he has been unstoppable.
“For me, it does not seem so special becoming the country’s number one tennis player. It is a result for my hard work over the years. It comes with a lot of responsibilities and I hope everybody realises that.
“Since 2011 after the gold medal we won in Maputo, I’ve told myself that I can get better, and maybe the efforts that I have put in are yielding fruits now” he told eyeonthesports.com.
The turning point for arguably Nigeria’s best player at this year’s Governor’s Cup, happened in 2009 when he lost his second consecutive International Tennis Federation, ITF, Junior Circuit to perennial opponent, Henry Atseye.
“I had lost my second consecutive ITF Junior Circuit in Benin to Henry (Atseye), and I thought that I had to do more” he said.
“I joined the train to play at the national level and despite the fact that I had not won any major title before this year, I kept pushing myself and today I’m a national champion”, the former Holland-based player added.
On how long he can sustain the number one spot, Enosoregbe remained humble as usual, maintaining that becoming the country’s number one player means an extra work must be done, and he will continue to work hard.
He said: “I really don’t know. It is difficult to maintain the number one spot but I will continue with my hard work and see how far I can remain there.
“I only want to keep doing what I know how to do and see how far I can go. The number of tournaments we have in the country yearly is discouraging, but we hope to continue doing our best”.
National coach, Benson Ishicheli, is not surprised about Enosoregbe’s end of the year finish, as he believes that the player has done enough for himself in the course of the year and deserves his position.
“With Clifford’s performance this year, he will end 2013 as Nigeria’s number one and I am not surprised about this.
“He has played well and done enough to be named Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, so we can only hope he maintains his form for a long time”, the Davis Cup team Coach said.
With this present rise of Enosoregbe to number one spot in the racquet game, the rivalry may have just begun as tennis players and observers look forward to a new season.