The President of the Nigerian Tennis Federation (NTF), Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju, during the press briefing for the ITF Futures event in Abuja, disclosed to newsmen the Federation’s plan to move the ITF Futures event to the next level.
According to the President, who also doubles as the sponsor of one of the futures event -the Dayak Tennis Championship-, there are plans on ground to take the ITF Futures to the next level, that is the Challenger Series, but the organizing body hasn’t given a good response to that as they think of Nigeria as an unsafe territory. As a result, a protest will be launched during the three weeks of the ITF Futures tournament to send out a clear message.
The ITF Circuit is the entry level into professional tennis, while the Challenger Series is next. We have the ATP 250, ATP 500, ATP 1000, and the highest level, which is the Grand Slam.
“We are going to be using this event to launch a protest to the organizers of the challengers,” the President said. “Because we want to take this tournament to the next level. You know, this is the entry level into professional tennis.
“We’ve not gotten a good response. The major reason is security. Somebody sits somewhere and says Nigeria is not safe to host the challengers.
“We’ve held this tournament (ITF Futures) here for four years and there’s never been a security challenge,” Engr. Akindoju stressed.
“So we advise that the players from all over the world that are participating in this particular event carry placards to protest that, ‘Look, Abuja is safe. Nigeria is safe.’
“This is not just Nigerians now that are making this protest, but even the players from Australia, South Africa, Europe, they’re going to be running that protest all through the three weeks.
“Hopefully, we’ll package that and send it to the organizing body in Monaco to make them know that we are more than qualified to host even a grand slam in Abuja if security is the challenge.
“We want the world to know we’re capable of hosting a higher level of tennis in Abuja and even in Nigeria,” the President concluded.