Sarah Adegoke, Nigeria’s Tennis former number one on Thursday, said that more credible hands were needed for home grown talents to be groomed into international stardom.
Adegoke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the sidelines of the ongoing Lagos Open Tennis Tournament at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, that the tournament had witnessed a lot of young talents.
She said that so many of the young players desired to play at the higher level of tennis circuits but noted that the bane of quality coaches and programmes had hindered their growth.
“It has been challenging for young players to make it because we lack credible hands who really know what it takes to prepare and nature a world star.
“The Lagos Open championship is of great international repute, but it is not enough as we need more of this to give players the opportunity to excel.
“I really thank the organisers for over the years that they have continued to give players the opportunity to play at an ITF Circuit, but we need more of this competition,” Adegoke said.
According to the tennis star, Nigeria over the years has been dominant at the West African organised competitions but still behind countries like Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa.
“If we have more competitions in Nigeria such as the ITF 25k Series and the 60k Series coming up regularly in a calendar year, it will boost a lot of players’ games.
“With the right people who are passionate about the development of the sport, tennis will grow as there are several untapped talents abound nationwide.”
She rated the ongoing Lagos Open higher than what has been, adding that home grown talents were being discovered on a high scale.
Adegoke, who lost out in the second round of the group game, said that she was very confident that the sport would continue to grow in spite of many challenges.
“I just played in my first championship in the year after recovering from a health issue that sidelined me for two months.
“I’m happy to be back doing what I love doing most. “I also use the opportunity to call on the corporate world to come and rescue the dwindling fortunes of the sport, sponsor and organise major events.”