With less than a month to the 16th edition of the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship, no fewer than 39 countries of the world including host, Nigeria will participate in the annual event.
For two weeks, players form notable tennis playing countries will converge on the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan to fight for $100,000 dollars prize money and ATP points in a two-legged tournament from October 8 to 22.
According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), a total number of 109 players will compete for honours in the singles and doubles events of both the men and women’s categories.
Interestingly, this year’s competition will see the return to the city of Lagos some former champions of the Governor’s Cup.
Top on the list of these stars is Enrique Lopez-Perez, who won the two legs of the tournament in 2012. Ranked number 174 in the world, the Spanish star is the top seed in the Men’s Singles this year.
Also in the train to the 16th Governor’s Cup is Boy Westerhof of The Netherlands, who won the competition in 2007 and was men’s doubles winner in 2010 edition.
He is ranked number 313. Egyptian Karim-Mohamed Mohamed, Duncan Mugabe of Uganda and Mark Fynn of Zimbabwe are some of the old faces to play in the pro circuit event in Lagos.
For the first time in the history of the Governor’s Cup, a Nigerian player, Christian Paul with the ATP rank 1290 is listed in the Main Draws of the first leg of the tournament which serves off on Monday, October 10.
Other Nigerian players who will play, but will fight their ways to the main draws in the qualifying matches (except the wildcards from the ITF), include Sylvester Emmanuel, Moses Michael, Umar Balami, Albert Bisong, Joseph Imeh Ubon, Mohammed Mohammed, Edward Christopher Anefu, Adimabua Joseph Iyorovbe, Francis Aleji, Emmanuel Ikakah and Ilechukwu Iloputa.
In the women’s event, 2013 and 2015 champion, Tadeja Majeric of Slovakia (239) will stage a comeback to Lagos. She will be joined by regular faces such as Conny Perrin of Switzerland, semi finalist in last year’s event. Perrin, who is ranked 233 is the top seed in the women’s singles. Others are American Alexandra Riley, Indian Prathana G. Thombare, a quarter finalist last year, Ester Masuri and Keren Shlomo, both from Israel as well as Valeria Bhunu of Zimbabwe.
Melissa Ishuan Ifidzen is the highest ranked Nigerian lady with 1029 in the world, while other local ladies listed by the ITF include Osariemen Airhunmwunde, US – based Omolola Oredugba, Patience Onebamhion, Loveth Donatus Ronke Akingbade, Aminat Quadri, Sarah Adegoke, Aanu Ayegbusi and Christie Nwankwo.
Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye in a telephone interview yesterday said the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, and the management of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club are set to host the world in the 16th edition of the Governor’s Cup, adding that the LOC is grateful to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for graciously supported the hosting of the second Governor’s Cup since he assumed office.