The main draw of the 38th Central Bank of Nigeria Tennis Championship will serve off today at the National Stadium, Lagos with Thomas Otu and Christy Agugbom as top seeds for the men’s and women’s singles.
Otu carted home the men’s top prize by beating Michael Moses while Agugbom surrendered the crown she won in 2014 to Melissa Ifidzhen, who arrived from Egypt yesterday having featured in the doubles final of the $10,000 Sharm el Sheikh tournamenton Saturday.
In what could be regarded as the assemblage of the best Nigerian tennis players, this year’s edition promises to be tough with the champions in both singles categories pocketing N750, 000.
Aside the prize-money, there will be all to play for by the men as the tournament serve as trials for the selection of the country’s team to the Davis Cup African qualifier in Madagascar, in July.
“I know I have to be on top of my game because everyone is aiming for the top,” Otu said after a training session yesterday.
No fewer than eight junior players will be in the main draw prominent among whom are Michael Osewa and Oyinlomo Quadri who will be making their debut in the main draw.
“It is going to be very tough because of the the senior players have lots of experience. I’m hoping for a good draw. If I can get to the second round, I will be happy,” Osewa, who spearheaded Team Nigeria to a third place finish at ITF World Team Cup qualifiers held recently in Tunisia, said.
On her part, Quadri, 14,who is on a month-long holiday from the ITF Development Center in Morocco where she is on a year scholarship said, she sees the opportunity to play the tournament as a learning process.
The week-long tournament will also feature wheelchair tennis.