BY JOHN EGBOKHAN
National junior tennis coach, Mohamed Ubale has said that the absence of tennis academies was undermining the development of the game in the country. Also, Chevron Nigeria Limited, one of the leading sponsors of junior tennis in the country, has urged other firms to key into ventures that would help in moulding youngsters into world beaters in tennis.
Speaking during a parley at the NNPC/Chevron Junior Masters Championships which ends tomorrow in Lagos, Ubale said that for tennis to grow, that conscious efforts must be made to ensure the continuity of projects aimed at sustaining the competitiveness of players discovered at the junior tennis until they blossom into world beaters.
“The reason why our tennis players have failed to meet up with their peers from other parts of the world is because of the absence of tennis academies where junior players are groomed in such a way that they can compete with others.
“We also lack continuity of projects specifically targeted at junior players till they turn professionals. Our players cannot grow into top stars if after being discovered at the Junior circuit, they are not sustained with sponsorship to play on the tour, where they stand to get ATP and WTA ranking points as well as make some money for their livelihood”, added Ubale.
Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Femi Odumabo said that the task of reviving Nigerian tennis cannot be left in the hands of just one sponsor, noting that others should embrace tennis sponsorship.
“Our tennis is down because sponsors are not enough to build academies and sponsors players to international competitions where they can get points and better their livelihood. But with more corporate participation, the trend can be reversed”, said the Chevron manager.