By; AYO OJEDOKUN Lagos
The city of Lagos is set to play host to no fewer than 240 players from 57 countries of the world in this year’s Lagos Open Tennis Championship.
This is the number of players who have signified interest in featuring in the 2019 Lagos Open Tennis which holds at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos from October 7 to 20, 2019.
The Lagos Open, which before 2018 edition, was known as the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, is being organised annually to celebrate the sitting Executive Governor of Lagos State since the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
This year, the 19th edition, will be the first in the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The 240 players, according to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) consist of 133 who will compete in the men’s singles and doubles events, while 107 players will play in the women’s singles and doubles during the ITF World Tour in Lagos, one of the emerging mega cities of the world.
Twenty-eight year old Japanese Shuichi Sekiguchi is the highest ranked player in the men’s category.
He is ranked 286 on the ATP world ranking, followed by Tunisian Skander Mansouri who is on number 341 and French Tom Jomby (404). Jomby is a regular face in the Lagos Open as well as compatriot Calvin Hemery (561). Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Lock (471) and Takanyi Garanganga (623) who are making a return to Lagos.
The highest ranked Nigeria men player in this year’s competition is Joseph Imeh Ubon, who is ranked 1537 and followed by Sylvester Emmanuel (1897).
Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone is leading the women’s players to event. She is 161 on WTA world ranking, followed by Aleksandrina Naydenova from Bulgaria (218) and Amandine Hesse from France (236) making the top three.
A good number of the women players are returning to Lagos this year. They include Valeriya Strakhova (384) from Ukraine, Julia Terziyska (427) from Bulgaria (427), Austrian Melanie Klaffner (612) and American Alexandra Riley (1126) , Israeli Ester Masuri and Nigerian-born American Adesuwa Osabuohien.
Some of the registered Nigerian women players are Barakat Oyinlomo Quadre, Sarah Adegoke, Blessing Anuna, Aanu Ayegbusi and Blessing Samuel.
Countries where the players will be coming to Lagos include USA, France, Britain, Canada, Russia, Australia, Austria, Mexico, Germany, Ukraine, India, Italy, Japan, China, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, the host Nigeria and others.
A total prize of $100, 000 is at stake in the two weeks event in the men ($50,000) and women ($50,000).