Lagos State Governor, Raji Fashola with some winners from a previous edition of the competition
By Femi Solaja
Indications emerged Sunday night that the 12th Governor's Cup Lagos Tennis Championship, which will hold from 13-27 October, 2012 will feature a great number of prominent foreign players across the world.
The tournament is geared towards attracting future champions across the world to Lagos State-the emerging Third (3rd) Mega City of the World, in showcasing the heavy infrastructural development from 1999 and the tourism potentials of the state. The organisers have put in place some structures to make the tournament metamorphose into 'Lagos Open'.
At least players from 35 countries of the world took part in last year's edition, but the forth coming edition has already generated more interests from a number of nations which players have been requesting from the secretariat of Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, letters of invitation to enable them process their visas to Nigeria to feature in the International Tennis Federation, ITF approved Futures, which will be played at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos.
Players from about 15 countries have sought for letters of invitation from the NTF as at 9 September, with the federation expecting this number to be triple by 27 September when the entries for the first leg of the championship will close.
Some of the countries are South Africa, Spain, Belgium, USA, Kenya, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Italy, Germany, Israel, Botswana, India and China.
Secretary of the NTF, Mrs. Nkana Mbora disclosed that Indian players have sent a large number of requests for letters of invitation.
Meanwhile, the ITF says on its website that players should put in their registration for the first leg (Futures 1) of the competition, latest by 2pm of September 27, while withdrawal deadline has been fixed for October 2.
Giving details on the format of this year’s competition, the ITF says the qualifying matches for the first leg will be played weekend of October 13 and 14, with a Sign-in deadline of Friday, October 12 before 6pm and the main draw will commence on the 15th of the month.
The total prize money for the Governor’s Cup since it became an ITF approved circuit has been $80,000 for Main Draw players with the men’s category carting home the sum of $30,000 with hospitality, while the women’s category wins $50,000 without hospitality.
The main sponsors are Etisalat Nigeria, FCMB Plc with other co sponsors like Julius Berger Plc, CCECC, Stomberg Limited, Plycon Limited, SMC Limited, Globe-HFP Limited, LASACO Assurance Plc and NASTON Limited just to mention a few.
The sponsors, who are Friends of the Governor, have been supporting the competition in both individuals and corporate capacities. This tourney has always been no fee payment for all spectators.