8th June, 2010
Winners of the Men and Womenâ€™s Singles of the just concluded Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Open, are happy that God crowned their efforts with trophies at the end of the tournament.
Sunday Emmanuel won the Menâ€™s Singles after he defeated Candy Idoko in straights sets of 7-6, 6-2 in an explosive final played on Saturday at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria.
Fatima Abinu, the defending champion of the Womenâ€™s Singles retained her title afterÂ defeating upcoming player, Anu Ayegbusi, in a crunchy encounter that ended in straight sets of 6-1, 7-5.
Emmanuel, the highest ranked Nigerian player on the ATP world ranking on 1230 told Tennis Special that he looked back at the CBN Open this year and can beat his chest that he deserved the crown because the road was very tough to the final.
Emmanuel, the current No.1 player in Nigeria, after receiving the trophy and the N600,000 prize money from the President of Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, said â€œitâ€™s not easy getting to this stage and being the No.1 player in the country, all eyes were on me. This really made me remain focused and raised my determination to win the trophy. Iâ€™m happy that at the end of the day, I justified my rating in the tourney.
â€œI feel happy winning the tournament this year. I deserved the crown because I worked for it. The loss to Abdulmumini Babalola last year was quite unfortunate. I worked very hard to see that I improved on my game and the result is the trophy,â€ he said.
An elated Abinu told reporters that she would dedicate the Womenâ€™s Singles crown to her late mom, whom she wished were around to see the height her daughter has attained in Nigerian tennis.
Abinu, who won the trophy back to back said: â€œIâ€™m happy that Iâ€™m getting better and more exposed every year I participate at the CBN Open. I can see that I am better than I was last year at the just concluded tourney. Playing in the final and winning the trophy are testimonies to this. How I wish my late mom is around to see this success.â€ Abinu got a cash prize of N400,000 and a giant trophy at the end of the match.
Apart from the cash prizes, the apex bank, which has been sponsoring the tourney in the last 32 years, feted the two winners to a treat at the four-star Best Weston Hotel, Bar Beach, Lagos. The hotel is reputed to have the first rooftop tennis court in the country.
Tennis Special gathered that Emmanuel and Abinu would be the first players to play on the court.