A junior tennis masters targeted at the next generation of players to take over from the likes of Mumuni Babalola and Clifford Enosorogbe who are dominating tennis at the senior level, will debut Tuesday, April 24 at the National Stadium Tennis Centre, Lagos.
The tournament which is being bankrolled by Zenith Bank under the auspices of the International Tennis Academy will feature the best eight boys and girls in the 18s category.
The Next Generation Masters, according to the organisers, is designed to identify the best players who are transiting from the juniors to seniors and challenge them to upstage the seniors. It will also help to prepare them for the senior tournaments like the CBN Senior Championship and NCC Tennis League which are expected to start in the second quarter of the year.
“The Masters has been specifically scheduled for the week of April 24 to April 28 to have it serve as a tune-up for the CBN Senior Championships which comes up second week of May,” Director of the International Tennis Academy, Godwin Kienka, explained yesterday.
The boys invited for the Next Generation Masters are: Godgift Timibra, Michael Osewa, Stephen Augustine, Christopher Itodo, Tochukwu Ezeh, Abayomi Philip, Emmanuel Jebutu and Michael Ayoola. Two players – Michael Abamu and David Dawariye – will attend as alternates.
The girls’ event will feature Toyin Asogba, Oyin Quadri, Fortune Aniso, Omolade Aderemi, Omolayo Bamidele, Favour Moses, Mariam Alli- Balogun and Rebecca Ekpeyong. Timipre Maxwell and Oiza Yakubu will also attend as alternates.
Junior tennis in Nigeria is developing very rapidly and showing tremendous prospects. Nigeria presently dominates the West African region and is pulling her weight on the continent and beyond.
Three junior players – Marylove Edwards, Angel Mcleod and Chris Bulus left for the USA this year to study and pursue tennis careers. Edwards, the 14 and under champion before she left, got to the finals of the CBN Senior Championships last year and is now at the famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.
The Managing Director & CEO of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo, said the bank has been following the progress of junior tennis players in Nigeria and hopes that the Junior Masters will fast track the process of producing world-class players in the nearest future,”