Nigeria’s Sylvester Emmanuel has attributed his strong showing at the Governor’s Cup to the hard work he put into his game over the past year.
Emmanuel got to the second round of both legs of the tournament in 2015, but he has already gone further this year, stunning seventh seed, Alexis Klegou in the Round of 16 to advance to his first ever Governor’s Cup quarter finals.
The Nigerian eventually ran out of legs on Thursday, losing in three sets to Egyptian, Karim-Mohamed Maamoun.
Emmanuel may have fallen in the last eight, but he was relatively satisfied with his performance.
‘I feel so good playing the quarter-finals because this is my first time at that stage. Last year I played in the second round, so I worked really hard to improve. I wasn’t really surprised because I worked for it’, Emmanuel said.
‘After the futures last year, I went to America to train and play more tournaments just to get better’, he added.
Emmanuel needed over three hours to beat Klegou on Wednesday evening, with the match ending just a few minutes before 7 pm, but his singles’ quarter-final was surprisingly scheduled first up on Court 2 at 9:30 am the following day.
The Nigerian competed well in the opening two sets, but he eventually fell away in the deciding set, as fatigue kicked in.
‘Maamoun played better. He was stronger. My legs were a little bit tired because of yesterday’s match, but he was stronger’.
The Benue-born player explained that he had to play his singles quarter final early because he still had to complete the doubles’ match he carried over from the previous day, and potentially play another doubles match before the close of play.
‘I couldn’t play my doubles match yesterday because I finished my singles’ late; so they had to put me first on so that I can play my quarter final, and have enough time to play two doubles matches today’.
Indeed, Emmanuel teamed up with Ugandan, Duncan Mugabe to beat the Polish pair of Maciej Smola and Karol Drzewiecki in the doubles match postponed from yesterday, and the Nigerian-Ugandan combination returned to the court later in the day to confront French second seeds, Calvin Hemery and Gianni Mina- a match they unfortunately lost.
Emmanuel revealed that the Governor’s Cup will be his last tournament in 2016, with the rest of the year dedicated to pre-season training in Spain to get ready for the new campaign.
‘This is gonna be my last tournament for the year, and then I will go for pre-season, train and work really hard to prepare for 2017.’, the youngster said.
The day might have ended on a disappointing note for Emmanuel, but he provided some of the highlights of the tournament- and he will be back for next week’s second leg to thrill Lagos fans with his super skills and character.