Lagos - Since after the second edition of the annual Governor’s Cup, Lagos Tennis Championships, no Nigerians have ever won the tournament which began in 2000.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Men’s Singles event of the maiden edition of the tournament now in its 12th edition was won by Ivorian Claude Ngoran.
Nigerian’s Osaro Amadin, also in 2000, emerged the Women’ Singles maiden champion of the current most prestigious tennis tournament in the country.
Nigerian’s US-based Sule Ladipo, at the second edition in 2001, emerged the Men’s Singles champion, in a controversial final that left defending champion Ngoran who felt cheated cried.
Afterwards, no Nigerians players, male or female, had ever won the tournament.
The two week tournament will commence on Oct. 12 and end on Oct. 29 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
Nigerian’s Shehu Lawal and his colleagues, had, however, pledged to break the jinx this year.
Shehu Lawal, ranked 1409 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), was the only Nigerian already listed in the main draw for the first week of the two-week tournament.
Lawal in an interview with NAN pledged surprises at the tournament.
"I am ready to break that jinx this year, I am fully prepared to make Nigeria proud and lift the trophy this year,” Lawal told NAN in a telephone interview."
Other Nigerian players apart from Lawal were, however, listed on the qualifier draws.
The male qualifiers players were Clifford Enosoregbe, Onyeka Mbanu, Kehinde Alade, Destiny Ford-Da Silva, Monday Igbinovia, Samuel Omoile, Ganiyu Yussuf, Pekun Akingbde, Sunday Igbinovia, Omotayo Kaseem, Sanni Adamu and Bolaji Olawepo.
The female qualifiers players were Christie Agugbom, Chinenye Izuogu, Blessing Samuel, Blessing Anuna , Osariemen Airhumwunde and Laurent Rochette.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the championships has assured massive turnout of players both foreign and local at this year’s tournament.
Pius Oluwole-Akinyelure, the LOC chairman, told NAN that players from 55 countries including the U.S and Russia, as against 33 last year had registered for this year’s event.
Oluwole Akinyelure added aside the 80,000 dollars prize money, the championships would also gulp another N70 million for accommodation, feeding and allowances for international and local officials.
NAN reports that the championships would be jointly sponsored by First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria.