By John Egbokhan
The Nigerian tennis community is mourning the death of its life and grand patron, Dr. Olusola Saraki, who gave up the ghost Wednesday in Lagos.
Leading the flurry of tributes in honour of the foremost tennis promoter, President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Sani Ndanusa, said yesterday that it was taken aback with Saraki’s demise, noting that it came at a time that Nigerian tennis was in dire need of his support and guidance.
Recalling the may great things that the deceased did during his life for the growth of tennis, Ndanusa said that it was going to be difficult to fill his void, even as he stressed that Saraki was going to be greatly missed by all tennis faithful.
Ndanusa added that the deceased was a true gentleman, humble servant and cheerful giver, who could give his life to salvage the poor and needy ones in the society.
On the role that he played as a patron of Nigerian tennis, Ndanusa, who is the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee said that Saraki’s contributions were unquantifiable.
“He was a true promoter of tennis. He was always ready to assist at any given time, if contacted. He assisted us in kind, cash, morally and in every imaginable way. It was to his credit that he always organised a tennis tournament to mark his birthday, when he was still alive. We would miss him greatly. We pray that the Almighty gives his family the fortitude to bear this great loss”, said Ndanusa.
Also speaking on the life and times of the late Saraki, the immediate past President of the NTF, Chuka Momah, said that the deceased was one of the foremost promoters of tennis in the country.
“Dr. Saraki was a noted fan of tennis, lover of the game, he played the veterans game, where he played regularly with other Nigerians. I appreciate the time that I spent with him, especially in Wimbledon, where we would sit together to watch the Williams sisters in action. He was an absolute gentleman, simple, humble and a big supporter of NTF over the years.
“We did appreciate very much his simplicity, despite his towering stature and advancing years, he would relate with us the younger ones as if we were mates”, said Momah.