I’ll Rule The World Someday

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 Debutu Emmanuel is a young tennis player with great passion for the game. He told TENNIS SPECIAL his aspirations and the challenges militating against his dreams.

 

How did you start playing tennis?

I started playing tennis when I was six years old.When I saw some people playing tennis I developed interest in the sport. Abdulmalik Kabiru, who is also a player, encouraged me to play this game. He has been helping me to understand the rudiments of the game, even before I got a coach. I have my training kits and I remain focused in the game.

How old are you now and what else do you do apart from playing tennis?

I’m nine years old. I’m a student of Shitta Nursery and Primary School, Igbaja, Lagos. I also help my mother in her business, but my utmost priorities are my tennis career and education.

How do you combine education and tennis ?

It is not easy being a player and student. The environment does not encourage you as a player, but determination, dedication and discipline have been helping me to remain focused. My school does not have tennis facilities. I need to be at school and still create time to join my colleagues at the training ground. It is not easy at all.

What is your parents’ reaction towards your tennis career?

My parents are very supportive. They encourage and motivate me a lot. They make provisions for my needs and always advise me on how to comport myself in public. They often advise me not to let our family down.

Is there anybody supporting you apart from your parents?

As I said earlier, Abdulmalik Kabiru is one of them. My teachers in school and some coaches that have been imparting knowledge on me are great and wonderful. My schoolmates and those at the training ground have been really supportive. Journalists are also encouraging me to remain focused.

Who is your role model in the game?

Rafael Nadal is my model. I wish to emulate his achievement in the game. He is a good fighter and his resilience on the court makes me see him as an all-time champion. Djokovic might be having his way now, but it would take him a long time to equal Nadal’s feat in the game.

What is your aspiration?

I hope to rule the world someday. I wish to become a mentor for the younger ones and affect the lives of the less privileged children in the country and other parts of the world. I also wish to represent my country at international tournaments, especially the Davis Cup in the nearest future.

What are the challenges militating against your dreams?

Tennis is an expensive game. I find it difficult to acquire my training kits and other materials needed to excel. It is too expensive for me to secure a Grade A coach. Tennis facilities are not provided in public schools in the country. Upcoming players like me are not nurtured properly by the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF. We need attention from the NTF at this crucial stage in order to be properly groomed for future challenges in the game. We need to establish more tennis academies in the country.

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