Tennis enthusiast from across the country trooped to the Tennis courts of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos from April 26 to May 4, 2013 to be part of the 35th edition of Central Bank of Nigeria Senior Tennis Tournament.
But little did they know that the championship would indeed provide more glamour than they ever envisaged, following the inclusion of the wheelchair tennis in this years edition as revealed by the Central Bank of Nigeria during the unveiling ceremony held at the media centre of National Stadium Surulere Lagos, prior to the tournament.
Not even the on-going 2013 Madrid Tennis Masters tournament in Spain could have stopped the excitement that was noticed on the faces of the bigwigs that watched the grand finale on Saturday May 4,2013 at the centre court of the National Stadium Surulere.
Among them is the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was ably represented by the Director of procurement and support services, Mr Olakanmi Gbadamosi, the Minister of Sports and Chairman National Sports Commission Bolaji Abdullahi, who was represented by Dr (Mrs) Toyin Aluko an Assistant Director with the National Sports Commission, president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engineer Sanni Ndanusa, who is also the president of Nigerian Tennis Federation and Dr Jonathan Nnaji,Vice Presidents Nigeria Olympic Committee who is also the president of the Nigeria Taekwando Federation among others.
Being the most prestigious Tennis tournament in west Africa, the championship witnessed the presence of Tennis players from neighboring west Africa Countries like Togo and Benin Republic who were among the over six hundred players that registered for the championship that saw Henry Atseye, the 2011 mens’ singles winner emerging victorious once again when he stopped hard fighting Clifford Enosoregbe 7-5 on 6 retired to pocket the N700,000 price money at stake for the men singles title in addition to the giant trophy also set aside for the winner.
Ronke Akingbade who struggled her way into the main draw of the women singles category through a wild card granted to her by the Nigeria Tennis Federation, beat tournament Seed 3 Christy Agugbom 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to win the women singles title. Like the mens’ singles winner, Akingbade carted home the giant trophy plus the N700,000 cash prize attached to it.
The men doubles title went to the pair of Abdulmumuni Babalola and Shehu Lawal that defeated Samuel Omoile and Nonso Madueke 6-3, 6-0, in the final, while Blessing Samuel paired with Christy Agugbom to lift the womens’ doubles trophy when they defected the duo of Sarah Adegoke and Ibrahim Omotayo 7-5, 6-2 in the final ahead of the singles events final.
In the wheel chair cartegory which was included for the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1978, seed 2, Alex Adewale outclassed top seed Wasiu Yusuf by beating him 7-6 on four and 6-1 to win the men’s singles title. The Women wheel chair single title went to the women top seed, Remilekun Basanya who defeated seed 2, Oluwatoyin Dawodu 5-3, 5-3 to emerge champion.
But that the tournament which started well and ended very well also without any hitch, did not end without upset to the class and standard of this year’s edition of the competition.
In the Men’s singles category, tournament top seed, Abdulmumi Babalola’s loss to seed 4 Henry Atseye in one of the semi-final matches prior to the final, was seen as an upset while George Abamu’s victory over tournament seed 6 Nonso Madueke in the second round of the Men’s singles event was another upset owing to the fact that Abamu came to the qualifiers.
Also in the Women’s singles cartergory, Ronke Akingbade who came into the maindraws of the women’s single chat via a wild card, proved book makers wrong by stopping tournament seed 2, Blessing Samuel in the semi-finals to book a place in the final where she justified the decision of the president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Eng.Sani Ndanusa, to give her a wild-card by beating tournament seed 3,Christy Agugbom in the final.