ABUJA – Ifedayo Akindoju, the President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), has described as ”top notch”, the quality of the ongoing DavNotch National Open Tennis Championship, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the championship, which got underway on Monday at the Tennis section of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Package B, is expected to end today, May 22, with the Men and Women’s single final events.
Akindoju, who spoke to NAN on the sidelines of the tournament on Saturday, described the standard of the championship as “top notch.”
“It’s been a great tournament with very high standards in terms of the organisation, officiating, as well as the quality of players participating in the event.
“The games have been nothing short of exciting, intense and competitive right from the first round, second, quarterfinals, semifinals leading up to the finals.
“We look forward to an even better event on Saturday, when we will be playing the Men’s and Women’s Single finals as well as the Wheel Chair Men’s and Women’s finals.
“As you are aware, this is the maiden edition and the sponsors have assured of their commitment to bankroll the tournament for a minimum of five years and we are very grateful for their support,” he said.
The president, who noted that the sponsorship drive for tournaments had been slow due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, said that the situation was gradually improving as more sponsors were coming on board.
“You will realise that since last year when we had the last edition of the CBN tournament, we have not had any major tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sponsors have been very slow too with regards to sponsorship, but we are gradually getting back and so this particular championship has already opened the doors for numerous tournaments between now and the end of the year.
“I have been speaking with a lot of friends in the private sector, as well as corporate organisations that I know, like DavNotch, the current sponsors of this particular tournament.
“I have also spoken with Brians and Hammers who have promised to give us a tournament in September. So, it’s all about contacts and relationships.
“Sponsorship is all about finding the right people and selling your products to them and so far it’s been working for us.
“As a Federation, Tennis is a very nice family and people that play the game are generally very generous,” he said.
NAN also reports that in the finals of the Men Doubles played on Friday, the duo of Bikom Albert and Imeh Joseph created an upset by defeating the pair of Babalola Abdulmumuni and Shehu Lawal who had been dominant in the event for a very long period of time.
They won in two straight sets 6-3, 6-4, to put an end to a 15th title winning streak.
Speaking after the game, Bikom said, “We are delighted to have finally broken the jinx. Coming into the game, I had to work on the psyche of my partner even though the odds were clearly staked against us.
“We had met the champions over 15 times and had always come up short. But this time around we had a strong belief that we would finally put an end to their long time dominance of the event.
“The Doubles is all about your game plan and your ability to keep your head up and cheer your partner even, while you are losing points because once you allow frustration to set in, that’s when you lose the game.
“We are so delighted to have achieved this feat and we look forward to repeating same in the CBN tournament.”
Abdulmumuni, on the other hand, expressed disappointment after the game, blaming their failure to his partner’s lack of fitness.
“Well some days are like that and it is not an easy road from the first round to the final. Our best today wasn’t good enough for us as my partner wasn’t feeling well.
“When it comes to the doubles, it’s all about experience, it is completely different from the singles. You must know how to manage your court and the level of understanding between you and your partner must be top notch, but it just didn’t work out for us today.
“Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to crossing path with them again in the CBN Senior Open Championship and hope we can put in a better fight at the end,” he said.