Tennis Players Count Losses In 2013

By Ebenezer Osamo –

Nigerian tennis players are ending 2013 with unfulfilled dreams, as they featured in just two national tournaments throughout the outgoing year.
While the authorities lavish millions of Naira on football development, the country’s racquet game was not given the desired attention this year.
As the standard of tennis continues to drop in Nigeria, the players, who are badly affected are lamenting their development.
In separate interviews with, the players maintained that the sport did not offer them much throughout the year.
Samuel Omoile, who is Ranked Number 5 in the country, believes that the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, did not do anything to move the sport forward in the outgoing year.
Omoile explained that tennis is not supported in the country despite the fact that ‘the country has top players who can hold their own against their more experienced foreign counterparts’.
“For me, tennis was very poor in the outgoing year because we did not feature in the regular tournaments we used to have in the country.
“We had just two out of about five tournaments expected this year, and if not for the organisers of the Dala tournament, probably we wouldn’t have featured in the championship held in Kano.
“Tennis is not supported in Nigeria and it discourages the players a lot. Nigeria has the players who can do well against those foreign players but the NTF isn’t helping them in anyway”, he said.
Omoile, the Men’s Doubles winner at the 2013 edition of Dala Hard Court Championship in Kano added that: “if not for the passion we have for the sport, many of us would have backed out by now because it is highly unrewarding to play tennis in Nigeria”.
Also, Davis Cup player, Shehu Lawal noted that tennis is no longer what it used to be in the country.
Lawal described the outgoing year as one which did not favour Nigerian tennis.
He said: “since we’ve been having tournaments in the country, tennis had nothing to cheer in 2013 unlike the previous years.
“The dearth of tournaments virtually killed Nigerian tennis, that’s why our players performed woefully at the Governor’s Cup this year.
“It wasn’t like that in the past and I’m concerned about the development. However, I hope things change for better next year”, said Lawal, who entered history books as one of the players to lose back-to-back final matches at the Dala Hard Court Championship. He lost this year’s edition to Clifford Enosoregbe in Kano last month.
NTF President, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, however refused to accept that tennis did not do well in Nigeria this year. He believes that the Federation accomplished about 85 per cent of its plans for the year.
Ndanusa told that the Federation had many challenges but overcame them and moved ahead through the year.
“You cannot say tennis failed totally this year”, he started.
“We cannot also deny the fact that we had our challenges but that is not to say that we did not fare well throughout the year.
“Wheelchair tennis featured at the CBN Open for the first time this year, and we also had our junior players who progressed on the continent.
“In trying to be modest, we achieved about 85 per cent of our plans for the year, but we hope to get better in the coming year, as we seek to move the country’s tennis forward”, the Nigeria Olympic Committee President added.

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