By John Egbokhan
President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Farncesco Ricci Bitti, has challenged the Nigeria Tennis Federation to put to proper use the National Tennis Centre in Abuja, which is equipped with 17 standard courts.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the African Junior Championship in Abuja, the ITF supremo praised the Nigerian government and the Nigeria Tennis Federation for braving the harsh economic realities to construct the new courts, which he noted, can host international competitions.
â€œI want to thank the Nigerian government for the great facilities provided. I want to urge the government to continue to develop sports. The facilities for sports development here in Abuja, especially for the game of tennis, are good.
â€œI urge the NTF and government to ensure that these facilities are put in proper use for regular hosting of competitions.”
The International Tennis Federation is grateful to Nigeria because despite the financial difficulties hitting the globe, they were able to put in place such facilities of international standard. I challenge you to maintain these facilities, by ensuring that regular tournaments are played on themâ€, added the Italian boss of the global tennis ruling body.
He also said that the ITF is considering making Abuja an ITD development centre for the training of players and officials of the game.
â€œWith these facilities, I feel that Abuja has everything going for it to be an ITF development and training centre. We would look into this possibility and make our position known soonâ€, said Bitti, who added he was impressed with the performance of players at the AJC.
â€œThere is no doubt that we have discovered young and talented athletes here in Abuja. We wish the graduates to become professional players. The future of tennis is brightâ€, he said.