26th June, 2012
National Sports Festival Men’s Singles gold medalist, Nonso Madueke told DAMILARE OKUNOLA his future aspiration as a tennis player
How has it been playing tennis?
It has not been easy at all because there was nobody to push me in the sport. I didn’t have sponsors, which made playing the game look like a waste of time, but later things started taking shape.
How did you start playing tennis?
I started as a ball boy at a tennis club in Jos.
Of all sports, why did you choose tennis?
As a ball boy back then, I was also playing football but there wasn’t anything concrete coming out for me in football. I took interest in tennis when sponsorship came in.
Was there any time you felt like quitting?
There was a particular period when it seemed as if playing was not adding value to my life. My father asked me to stop. I would have stopped then, but the passion I have for the game pushed me on. Today, my father is the happiest man on earth seeing that I now play at a high level.
How many competitions have you played?
I’ve played in the Port-Harcourt Open, Dala Open, Junior ITF Circuits, CBN Open, National Sports Festival and so many others that I can’t remember now.
How will you describe your best moment in the game?
Winning a gold medal at the National Sports Festival was my best moment. I felt as if I was on top of the world after defeating my opponent; Anthony Michael. It was like a dream come true for me.
How would you rate this year’s CBN Open?
The competition is improving as the years roll on. To me, the standard this year was higher than what we had in the previous editions. I’m glad to say that many of the players had improved on their games. This shows that great tennis players are gradually coming out of Nigeria.
Are you the only tennis player in your family?
No, I have a younger brother, Kingsley, who is also doing well in tennis. He won a bronze medal at the last National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I can say tennis flows in our family.
Do you have any role model in the game?
Rafael Nadal is my role model because I play like him and I so much cherish his style of play.
What is your ambition in tennis?
I want to become Nigeria’s number one tennis player in the near future.