By Femi Solaja
Strong indications emerged Monday night that the 2012 Governor’s Tennis tournament will attract the largest assemblage of foreign players since the commencement of the competition following the confirmation of entries for the two-week ITF approved event.
Nina Bratchikova of Russia, who reached the second round of the 2012 Australian Open is one of the top female tennis players expected to hit Lagos for the Governor’s Cup, scheduled to hold between October 13 and 27 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis, Onikan, Lagos.
Bratchikova, ranked 93 in the world is a past winner of the Governor’s Cup and is coming to fight it out for the $50,000 prize money for the women’s event with other regular faces such as Kristina Kucova of Slovakia (269), Germany’s Anne Schaefer (294), Swiss Conny Perrin, Romania’s Laura-loana Andrei (330), Melanie Klaffner of Austria (384), Karolina Nowak of Germany, Italy’s Lara Rafful, Agnes Szatmari and Ester Masuri.
Some of the Nigerian ladies who have registered for the competition included Fatimah Abinu, Christie Agugbom, Chinenye Ndidi Izuogu, Blessing Samuel, Blessing Anuna and Osariemen Airhumwunde.
Laurent Rochette from France, who has been a regular face in Lagos, is leading the pack in the men’s category. He is ranked number 203 in the world. Other regular players coming for the championship are past winner Kamil Capkovic from Slovakia (255), Indian Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan (452), Vijayant Malik of India (475) and South Africa’s Ruan Roelofse (489).
Some of Nigeria’s male players, who have registered for the tournament, are Shehu Lawal (1406), Candy Idoko (1669) Clifford Enosoregbe (1669), Onyeka Mbanu (1669), Kehinde Alade Destiny Ford Da Silva, Monday Igbinovia, Samuel Omoile, Ganiyu Yussuf, Pekun Akinbode, Sunday Igbinovia, Omotayo Kaseem Rasaki, Sanni Adamu and Bolaji Olawepo.
Players from 55 countries have signified their interest to feature in this year’s competition. Some of the countries include USA, Spain, France, Russia, Poland, South Africa, Romania, Slovakia, Slovania, Ukraine, Italy Czech, Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ghana, Omar, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia and a host of others.