It’s been a wonderful tennis season, and to celebrate the stand-out performers from 2017, we are launching the first ever TennisNG Awards.
Awards will be presented in seven categories, including Player of the Year (male and female), and Fans Favourites. The players of the year will be decided by the TennisNG panel, while the fans’ favourite award will be determined by a Twitter poll.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Male)
1.) Abdulmumini Babalola
At 32 years, the nation’s no. 1 player is waxing strong. So good, never fading, the left-hander has been in the top echelon of the men’s game for more than a decade. The Ibadan native has had an impressive year, winning his 6th CBN Tennis Championship in June, and playing a pivotal role in his team’s (Civil Defence) triumph in the just concluded NCC Tennis League. Babalola had a fair run at the Dala Hard Court Tennis Championships in Kano, as he reached the quarter-finals of the event. He also put up a decent showing at the Rainoil Tennis Open, knocking out Clifford Enosorogbe in the second round before losing to eventual champion, Henry Atseye in the quarter finals.
2.) Joseph Imeh
The 20-year-old has had a near-perfect season. He won the Rainoil/Ikoyi Club 1938 Masters Tennis Championships in February, and fell to defeat to only three Nigerian players the entire season; unfortunately, they were defeats that cost him titles. He lost the final of the CBN Tennis Championship to Abdulmumuni Babalola in Lagos, and was runner up in Kano after Thomas Otu beat him to the Dala Hard Court Tennis title last month. Prior to the NCC Tennis Cup final, the Cross River State-indegene had not lost a singles match to anyone, but fell in three sets to nemesis, Babalola yet again, and that arguably cost his team, Muller, the title in Lagos. 2018’s nearly-man fell just short again at the Rainoil Tennis Open, losing to Henry Atseye in a gripping final at the Lagos Country Club in Ikeja.
3.) Thomas Otu
The ex-national champion has been in fine form this year. Couple of highs, few lows. One of his best moments was winning the Dala Hard Court Tennis Championship in Kano, beating Joseph Imeh in the final. He went unbeaten in the group stage of the NCC Tennis Cup. You couldn’t beat Otu. You just couldn’t. He always had the crowd behind him. He played to their taste. The flair. The finesse. And, it was one to behold. However, he would later be beaten in the semis and in the third-place match, as his team, Ndoma-Egba finished in fourth place. The 24-year-old is also reached the semi-finals at the inaugural Rainoil Tennis Open, where he was beaten by an inspired Henry Atseye.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR (FEMALE)
1.) Blessing Samuel
Blessing Samuel has had a fine season, peaking at the Dala Hard Court Tennis Championship in Kano where she defeated Sarah Adegoke in the final to win her fourth title at the event. The two ladies met again in the final of the Rainoil Tennis Open, but roles were reversed in Lagos as Adegoke earned her revenge with a 6-3 6-3 victory. Still, it was a fine week for Samuel. She lost to Marylove Edwards in the semi-finals of the CBN Tennis Open, but teamed up with Christie Agugbom to win the women’s doubles title.
2.) Sarah Adegoke
The female no. 1 player has become almost unplayable! Still only 20, Adegoke has so fearsome, taking out older and more experienced opponents with minimum of fuss. She won the Rainoil/Ikoyi Club 1938 Masters Tennis Championship in February, swept through the CBN Tennis Championship in June, and rounded off a fabulous season by winning the Rainoil Tennis Open in Lagos. Adegoke also won the McDan Open in Ghana. The one slight blip was at the Dala Hard Court Tennis Championship in Kano, where she fell to Blessing Samuel in the final. She was the only female player to remain unbeaten throughout the NCC Tennis League and was recognized with the Most Outstanding Player (female) at the grande finale in Lagos.
3.) Christie Agugbom
The 35-year-old national women’s champion has had a good year. She paired with Blessing Samuel to win the Women’s Doubles title at the CBN championships in Lagos early this year, and reached the semi-finals of the Dala Hard Court Tennis Open in Kano, falling to eventual winner, Blessing Samuel. The Civil Defence player was an integral member of the NCC Tennis Cup championship run, before rounding things off with a semi-final showing at the Rainoil Tennis Open in Lagos.
FANS FAVOURITE (MALE) – To be determined by Twitter poll
1.) Sylvester Emmanuel
2.) Thomas Otu
3.) Joseph Imeh
4.) Abdulmumini Babalola
FANS FAVOURITE (FEMALE) – To be determined by Twitter poll
There will also be awards for young players of the year, male and female, and a Special Recognition award for outstanding contribution to the sport.
The winners will be announced on Tuesday, 26 December, 2017.