.Beaten In Men’s Doubles With Igbinovia
By Ebenezer Osamo
Nigeria’s number one tennis player, Abdulmumuni Babalola, has lashed out at the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, for refusing to give him a wild card to play in the singles event of the ongoing Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship.
The Davis Cup player, who has been a regular face in the Governor’s Cup, was bitter about being snubbed for a wild card, whereas a foreign player got one.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with eyeonthesports.com, Babalola expressed his feelings and maintained that as the country’s current number one player, it would not have been appropriate for him to play the championship from the qualifiers.
“I’m disappointed that I was not considered for a wild card when a player from another country got one right here in my country.
“At least, I’m still Nigeria’s number one player at the moment and should have gotten a slot with a wild card, but I just can’t understand what the coaches and the Federation are up to”, he said.
Babalola added that,”Since they have decided to give out a wild card to a foreign player, it would also be appropriate to invite him ( The foreigner) to play Davis Cup for Nigeria when the time comes.
“We played this year’s Davis Cup just for pride but see how some of us are being treated today, it’s so annoying and it’s not done anywhere.
“Umaru Balami, who is not in the country, also got a wild card despite the fact that I had made it known to the federation and the coaches earlier”.
While reacting to the allegations, National tennis coach, Benson Ishicheli, defended NTF, saying only the junior players were given wild cards to get the required exposure.
In his words,”We gave the Junior and intermediate players the opportunity to prove their mettle and use the chance to expose them to top tennis actions.
“Balami’s match was moved to Tuesday because we were expecting him from the US. We did according to NTF’s directive and I don’t see any wrong in all that happened with the wild card issue.”
Meanwhile, Babalola summoned the courage to play in the Men’s Doubles on Monday, pairing with returnee former Nigerian star, Jonathan Igbinovia, but lost in straight sets of 3-6, 2-6 to the pair of Ruan Roelofse of South Africa and Ante Pavic of Croatia.