With a number of Nigerian tennis players bidding goodbye to the ongoing Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship, some of them have posited that they should not write off their compatriots, who are still in contention.
The players, who spoke with P.M.NEWS Sports, lamented their losses in the first leg of the Etisalat/FCMB sponsored tournament which came in bizarre fashions. They still maintained that they could have living up to expectations if ‘square pegs are put in square holes’.
According to wild card entrant, Samuel Omoile, Nigerians’ losses further showed the gulf in class between the local players and their foreign counterparts who are always exposed to major tournaments throughout the year as opposed to the Nigerians who are always lucky to have one Governor’s Cup Tennis in a calendar year.
“It’s quite unfortunate that many of us could lose out to these foreign players. Most of those foreigners are coming to Lagos from tournaments and they will be leaving Lagos to other tourneys.
“But we are always lucky to have one in a year. Things rarely work for us in this competition because we lack match fitness,” Omoile, who was the only ‘senior’ player at the camping programme organised for top Nigerian tennis players by Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, in conjunction with the Local Organising Committee, LOC.
Speaking in the same vein, Nigeria’s highest ranked ATP player, Sanni Adamu, said that it was painful that he did not have the opportunity of playing many championships prior to the Governor’s Cup.
Adamu opined that his recent return from Rwanda (where he went to play an ITF-pro circuit), really boosted his self confidence as he stepped up his game to defeat former national champion, Shehu Lawal,2-6,6-4,6-3, in the first round fixture on Monday.
In his words: “From what I have seen so far, it’s not that those foreigners are superior to us, but the dearth of tournaments is killing us.
“My recent ITF tournament on clay court in Rwanda boosted my confidence against Shehu, who is a big player. You too can do your calculations well and imagine how well I’d have performed if I had been going for such championships throughout the year.”
Adamu also added, “It’s unfortunate, though, but Nigerians should understand that it isn’t our fault that we performed the way we did”