In spite of the early morning shower in Lagos Thursday, there were over 350 players who registered as the qualifying matches of the 39th edition of the annual Central Bank of Nigeria Senior Tennis Tournament served off at the tennis courts of the National Stadium in Lagos.
All the registered players were on hand as the qualifying round matches got underway after three hours of delay due to the heavy down pour.
Men’s singles number two seed, Emmanuel Sylvester, is already eyeing the top spot following the absence of the defending champion, Michael Moses who is currently in America.
Another noticeable absentee is the ladies singles champion, Russia-based Ifidzhen Melissa, who is presently in school writing examination.
The acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, disclosed Thursday that N11,248,000 has since been set aside as prize money for winners in both men and women categories as well as the wheelchair division.
He added that winners of both the men and women singles categories will smile home with N700,000 each while the runners up in both categories will get N500,000.00 each.
There will be action in the menâ€™s singles round of 64 with four wild cards already given. Two wild cards have also been given in the womenâ€™s singles round of 32.
Okoroafor stressed that CBNâ€™s continuous sponsorship of the senior tennis is in line with the central bankâ€™s resolve to continue to promote and develop the game of tennis in the country just as they are doing with the CBN Junior tennis.
Secretary-General of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Mariam Akande, has pleaded with the players to ensure that they observe the general rules of the game, knowing that the CBN is the biggest tennis tournament in the country. The event runs from May 25 through June 3, 2017.