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TPPA UTR National Junior Tennis Classics organisers poise for best Clay Court Championships in W/Africa

Posted : 03 April 2024

The organisers of the Tennis Players' Parents Association (TPPA) UTR National Junior Tennis Classics on Tuesday vowed to organize the best Clay Court Junior Tennis Championships in West Africa.

The TPPA President, Segun Aluko, made the pledge in his briefing at the official serve-off of the 2024 TPPA UTR National Junior Tennis Classics at the Lagos Country Club, Joel Ogunaike, Ikeja.

The 2024 TPPA UTR National Junior Tennis Classics is set to serve off at the Lagos Country Club, Joel Ogunaike, Ikeja.

According to the organisers, the competition would attract about 72 players from across the regions in Nigeria, while some would be able to compete at the championship through wild cards.

Aluko said that the grand finale of the one-week-long 2024 TPPA UTR National Junior Tennis Classics would begin on April 8, expecting to have winners in the various regional championships held earlier across Nigeria.

Aluko posited that given the abundance of tennis stars in Nigeria, the country was ripe enough to have indigenous tennis players competing in top championships, such as ATP Masters, Grand Slams, among others.

The ex-tennis player, however, advocated for adequate monitoring for a smooth transition of the youth players to the senior cadre, a link he identified as missing in the progression of Nigerian tennis players.

"Last year, we held about seven tournaments, and this year, we are planning a bigger tournament wherein we will give an opportunity to every aspiring tennis player to showcase their talents.

"We will be having the grand finale of the 2024 TPPA UTR National Junior Tennis Classics here at the Lagos Country Club and it would end on the 13th of April.

"The idea of the tournament is to have a rich pool of the best young tennis stars across Nigeria to come and compete among themselves in Lagos.

"Our target is to attract the biggest Clay Court tournament in West Africa, with the best ones from Nigeria. Currently, we have the record as number one in West Africa and also East Africa," Aluko said.

The former chairman of the Tennis section of the Lagos Country Club also highlighted that the competition plans to extend the dragnet of its scouting for the best players to other West African countries.

"For us, in the nearest future, we want to go global by attracting other West African neighbors to participate in the TPPA UTR National Junior Tennis Classics.

"The competition has lots of advantages because it's one of its kind in Africa that has the certification of Universal Tennis Ranking (UTI), which means any ranking made in the tournament will be accepted all over the world.

"Any player that has TPPA rankings can present such anywhere in the world and will be accepted. The only requirement is verification of claims which is already on the website of International Tennis Federation (ITF).

"We want to provide the support needed for the grassroots development of tennis because we notice the gap in the transition of players from the youth level to the senior level," he said.

Aluko, however, said that players of Nigerian origin were capable of playing at the topmost level of tennis in the world, but countered that inadequate exposure and lack of funds have been impediments.

"We have players in Nigeria that should be playing at the topmost competition in the world, but as I have said, we have a duty to ensure a good transition of the players.

"We can raise players such as Novak Djokovic and Williams sisters in Nigeria because we have the players; however, bringing up tennis stars involves a lot of funds and commitments.

"We will need sponsors for these stars, and when they eventually become superstars, they will not only grab the headline as individuals but their nationality will also be mentioned as Nigerians.

"This is a big but achievable task we want to give ourselves because we have seen potentials among the tennis stars in Nigeria, and we need to develop them," he said.


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