31st August, 2010
There are strong indications that the 10thÂ Governorâ€™s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship will record a large number of foreign players.
The annual ITF approved F3 and F4 tennis classicsÂ is scheduled to hold from 15-31 October, 2010 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan. Tennis Special discovered at the weekend that the secretariat of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, has been bombarded with requests from foreign players asking for invitations letters to facilitate entry visas to Nigeria from their respective countries. It was learnt that an invitation letter is one of the pre-conditions for a player to get visas from Nigerian Embassies abroad.
Secretary General of the federation, Nkana Mbora said that the foreign players have been requesting for assistance toÂ get the necessary traveling documents that will facilitate their trip to Nigeria, adding that the federation hasÂ given out the necessary assistance to this effect.
She noted that the NTF is expectingÂ a full house of foreign players for the tournament, which attracts a prize money of $80,000.
The federation is very glad because it shows the popularity of the only surviving international tennis tournament in Nigeria,â€ she said.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the federation, Yemi Owoseni told Tennis Special that all hands are on deck to ensure that this yearâ€™s tourney is better organised than the previous editions. According to him, â€œwe have had series of discussions with the Local Organising Committee, LOC and the Tournament Director, Prince â€˜Wale Oladunjoye, who has been very supportive with the organisation of the tourney over the years. We also understand that the LOC has been discussing with the sponsors, especially Etisalat and FCMB.
â€œWe are grateful to everybody and corporate organisations that have supported us in the last ten years, We believe this yearâ€™s tourney will be better organised.â€ She said.
Tennis Special recalled that Moroccan Reda El Amrani and Slovak, Zuzana Kucova defied all odds to win the F3 and F4 last year.
After winning the first leg of the ITF approved championship, Amrani, the number 1 tennis player in Morocco, went ahead to claim the Menâ€™s Singles trophy of the second legÂ outstrokingÂ Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel in straights sets of 6-3, 6-3. Kucova on the other hand doubledÂ her crown in the Governorâ€™s Cup last year. She had earlier won the Womenâ€™s Singles laurel in the first leg, beating Russian Nina Bratchkova in a match that ended 6-0, 7-6(5) to lift the trophy in the second leg.
An elated North African boy, who won the menâ€™s singles crown told journalists after he was presented with his trophy by the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Chief Pius Akinyelure that he was happy winning the two legs of the Governorâ€™s Cup, adding that the journey from Day One of the competition till the last day was very tough, â€œbut thank goodness I survived the heat,â€ he said at the end of the tourney last year.
The duo of Fruttero John Paul and Catalin-Ionut beat the pair of Komlavi Loglo and Valentin Sanon 6-1, 7-6(3) to win the menâ€™s doubles crown, while Nina Bratchikova and Anna Gerasmou defeated the duo of Astrogo Chen and Keren Shlomo to win the womenâ€™s doubles.