Undoubtedly, tennis is a widely watched and followed sport in Nigeria despite the attention that other sports like football get in the media. For lovers of this beautiful sport, it serves as a form of exercise for those who play and a form of relaxation for those who watch.
Some people take the middle course and only partake in one way or the other during events like the Olympics that started in July. Whichever reason it may be, this sport has had several impacts on the lives of youths and seniors.
While most people think that Wimbledon, the Olympics that just started, and other high-ranking events are the only ones worthy of watching or partaking in, it is interesting to note that several organizations and individuals sponsor various cups and tournaments within the nation.
Examples include the Lagos tennis tournament, Abuja tennis tournament, Kano tennis tournament. Apart from these, there are also various leagues and cups both on the national and multi-national level for potential and professional athletes to partake in.
Furthermore, the Nigerian Tennis Federation is a central body formed sometime after the prominence of the sport within the country in1920. This body regulates and organizes several local and national cups for youths and professional contestants.
In terms of success at home and abroad, many Nigerian players have done the country proud several times by claiming international titles and rivalling the best contestants across several continents. To this end, we intend to discuss this amazing sport in this article and various tennis events coming up in Nigeria in 2021.
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Junior Tennis Tournaments
First and foremost, this sport is not only meant for adults or experts. As such, many junior tennis tournaments cater to the needs of youths to develop the next generation of stars. The national youth games are one such avenue for youngsters to showcase their talent for this beautiful sport.
The next edition will come up in 2021 between the tenth and nineteenth of October in Kwara State. Apart from the cups and medals to fight for, the event also is a means of meeting many youths from different parts of the nation. Another competition in this category is the Kaduna clay court junior. This competition is hosted for the Northwest region in memory of the late Isa Adewale. He was a mentor to many Nigerian tennis champions and Olympics winners.
The last edition was held in March, and subsequent cups promise lots of glamour and fun. Also in this category is the CBN junior competition that was hosted in Lagos in 2020 despite the covid 19 pandemics. The exciting and fierce sport event saw many youngsters below 16 showcase their talents for this amazing sport.
The ITF, an international body that regulates world tennis, supported CBN with an accolade for its contributions. The next edition of this sporting contest is something to anticipate as the sponsors are ever ready to groom future stars.
This category also has the "play your age" cup, which was an idea borne out of the monthly tennis challenge hosted by various individuals in the Federal Capital Territory tennis association.
The program has over seventy junior players participating from across the state. Watch out for their monthly editions of the open contest if you're a fan of watching youngsters.
Another junior championship contest coming up is the Snepco tennis championship and the Zenith Bank contest.
The last Snepco sponsored championship was held at the Lagos lawn tennis club and is geared towards developing the game among teenagers. Zenith bank, on the other hand, hosts an annual next-generation masters title contest for teenagers. The last edition was held in 2019 at Lagos and had many teenage players celebrate the finals.
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The Nigeria tennis federation, organizations, and individual sports enthusiasts host several senior tournaments. Notable ones include the Central Bank's Senior Open. The last edition was held in May 2020 at Abuja and featured defending champions from the men and women singles category.
There's also a men and women double category and a singles contest for wheelchair users. 2022 is another opportunity to catch up with the CBN senior's cup. Like we mentioned above, the bank's support and effort in the development of this game have not gone unnoticed by international federations.
Another upcoming tennis tournament in the senior category is the national sports festival that hosts several athletes from various sports categories to compete with other professionals from other states. The festival was scheduled to be held in 2020, but the pandemic made the organizers postpone it to April 2021.
Edo state hosted the 2021 edition, and it witnessed several masterclass performances from senior athletes. Delta state emerged winners at the competition and also gained the privilege to host the nation for another festival in 2022.
Also in the senior tournament category is the Dala hard court contest. This event was held in 2019, with winners from the men's single going with a million naira cash prize.
The women's single winner went with a whooping sum of six hundred thousand naira. However, the organizing committee has put the program on hold since then, citing the pandemic as a major concern.
Tentatively, we should be looking forward to another sterling contest in 2022, when the burden of the pandemic would have significantly subsided.
We also have the Vemp National open coming up in 2022. This event is one of the most anticipated senior tournaments since 2019 when two winners emerged from the singles category.
Recently, its organizers released a piece of news that this year's open couldn't see the light of day due to clashes with other vital contests. However, they promised that another mouthwatering contest is coming up in 2022.
Lastly, the Rainoil Clay Court Tennis Open is another anticipated contest for seniors. The last edition had successful contestants share up to nine hundred thousand cash rewards. This year's open couldn't come up mainly due to venue selection concerns, which are also related to the pandemic.
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Apart from the regular Nigerian tennis events, one of the most anticipated upcoming tennis tournaments in Nigeria is the ITF juniors. It is a standard contest among many international competitions held to promote junior athletes. Also, the player that wins the highest number of games is said to have a high rank. The just-released ranking has about eighteen Nigerians on the list.
Another significant event in this category is the Olympics. The Olympics is a world sport event that involves several countries and sports categories. This year's edition in Tokyo started in July and has many Nigerians and African athletes competing for medals and outstanding accolades. The games include tennis, soccer, swimming, and track events.
Apart from the July central Tokyo event, other contests that happen on the world stage and involve every good Nigerian and African tennis player include the Tombim, Dayak, GSL, and Lagos open.
These events run yearly and serve as a central way of ranking the best athletes across several continents. Athletes from Africa also participate in the puma wheelchair campaign, which caters to the needs of physically challenged contestants.
The good news is that new and seasoned African contestants have been triumphant in many finals and brought several accolades home. Some other time, we have seen local defending champions share the winning glory with their foreign counterparts.
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NCC Tennis League
Undoubtedly, the advent of the NCC Tennis League is one of the most influential and crucial developments to the sport within the country.
As the first in Africa, the league hosts several top athletes from across the country to participate in the table contest. Successful contestants cart away around seventeen million naira, which is shared among the winner, second place, and runner ups on the table.
Thankfully, the league is witnessing and attracting more sponsors from across the federation, according to various news outlets, with the common aim of empowering youths and ensuring the development of the sport.
Presently, news reaching us states that there are teams from Abuja, Kano, Benue, and Enugu. These teams have also started their fight for the top part of the table by signing players from other teams and states with enticing offers and deals. The organizers also said that there is an opportunity for new teams to register before the new campaign.
All these contributions have culminated in spreading the sport and its promising look among citizens. A past contestant on an opening day said that the league is an essential addition to the Nigerian sports scene. He also said some things about how these innovations have helped alleviate poverty.
To sum it up, there are numerous upcoming tennis events in Nigeria ranging from local contests like the Lagos tennis tournament, Abuja tennis tournament, Kano tennis tournament, and other Nigerian tennis tournaments to international tournaments like the ITF juniors.
Thanks to recent advancements, the game can now be played during the day, night, and even indoor when it is raining. Sports enthusiasts just need to tune in or attend these events as they unfold.
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