From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
No fewer than 24 tennis players from Europe, America and African countries have submitted entries to participate in the $75,000 Abuja Tennis Open billed to serve off May 1.
President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Sani Ndanusa, who made the disclosure, said players from United States, Russia, Spain, Canada, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Egypt, France, Argentina, Zambia, Germany, United Kingdom, have already entered for the much improved International Tennis Federation (ITF) ranked circuit.
While revealing that over five Nigerian players will also take part in the tournament, Ndanusa said about 35 ATP points will be up for grab weekly for the three-week tennis action at the refurbished tennis courts at the package B of the Abuja National Stadium.
The tournament, which is currently in its 3rd edition, is divided into three legs of one week each with three different sponsors of $25,000 each.
Speaking during the pre-tournament press briefing yesterday in Abuja, the tournament director, Ikani Agabi disclosed that while the Tombim sponsored Open will commence May 1, the second leg, which would be sponsored by Dayak Nigeria Ltd will run from May 8-13, while the final leg, under the sponsorship of Gladiator Services Ltd (GSL) will commence on May 13 and finish May 18.
According to Agabi; “The competition is borne out of a desire to provide the opportunity for Nigerian players to collect vital ATP points and to attract some of the best and up-coming players in the world to play in Nigeria.
“It is the firm belief of the organizers that an event of this nature will contribute positively to building the structure of Nigerian tennis and the image of Nigeria internationally.”