George Okogie, Lagos
Nigeria has been given eight wild card slots for the 16th edition of the Governors’ Cup Lagos Tennis Championship set to serve from Saturday, October 8 to October 22 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
The tournament which has increased its prize-money from $80,000 to $100,000, will see players from over 35 countries battle for the ultimate glory in the International Tennis Federation (ITF)’s highest prize-money championship in Africa, Asia and South America.
Speaking yesterday, the chairman of the LOC, Chief Pius Akinyelure, said the increase in prize money was part of incentives to bring in more players.
“This singular action ,the increase, has not only cemented Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis in the number one position in futures tournaments in Africa, Asia and South America, it is, also, the final step towards the tournament’s upgrading to the Challenger Series. This level, with its attendant economic and commercial benefits, gels into the future of Lagos as a Mega City. We will be moving from an ITF tournament to a Professional Tennis Association (PTA) tournament which is only a step away from the ultimate in tennis, the Tennis Open,” Akinyelure stated.
For Nigeria Tennis Federation president, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, the Governor’s Cup has now become a household name and carnival to tennis lovers in Nigeria and the entire world.
Ndanusa, who was represented by the NTF’s 1st Vice-President Yemi Owoseni, commended the governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode for keeping faith with the tourney, despite the economic downturn.
“Today, we are having six futures in our calendar, which are likely to be around 10, this time next year,” Ndanusa said as he urged local players to take advantage of the tournament as part of exposure to international tennis.
Tournament coordinator, Prince Wale Oladunjoye, revealed that everything was being done to reactivate the sponsorship of Etisalat and FCMB, among other corporate sponsors.