Nigeria’s tennis ace, Joseph Imeh, has expressed his dissatisfaction at the ITF Futures in Abuja being the first tournament for Nigerian players this year, as he feels a national tournament before the Futures would have given the players a means to adequately prepare.
“For the tournament (ITF Futures) being the first tournament of the year, it’s not really good for we the Nigerian players. Because there should be a national tournament before this one to get us prepared for a big competition like this,” he stated.
Nigerian tennis players have always bemoaned the lack of adequate tournaments in a year. The effects have also been evident, seeing how the crop of home players have always failed to dominate the ITF Future tournaments, notably the Lagos Governor’s Cup.
“These white guys, when they come, they’ve gone for like 5, 6, 7 tournaments before they come to a competition like this. So they’re already in the game. They are there mentally and physically. They are prepared. They know what to do because they’ve been playing for the past months,” Imeh stressed.
“These are the kind of things we need and that’s what we don’t have in the country,” the Nigeria’s no. 1 concluded.
However, the present administration of the country’s tennis federation is working tirelessly to make sure the game and its players get on par with global standards. Already, there’ll be two new major tournaments this year, sponsored by the Tennis Management Company (TMC), with a prize-money of N10 million. Also, there’s the Rainoil Tennis Open, which started last year.
Hopefully, in the coming years, there will be enough tournaments scheduled before the ITF Futures.