By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Arrangements have been concluded by the organizer of the 2019 edition of the Lagos Open Tennis championship, which serve off on Monday, 7 October with the first leg of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) approved tournament holding from that Monday to Sunday, 13 October at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Chief Pius Akinyelure disclosed to New Nigerian Sports in Lagos that all is now set for the tournament, which has been holding in the state since 2000 to celebrate the sitting Executive Governor of Lagos State.
This year will be the first in the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.Chief Akinyelure, who spoke through the Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye said that the ITF has redefined the nomenclature of its Futures Tournament to reflect the prize money.
“Lagos Open is in the highest category and is now known as an M25 +H and W25 Tournaments for the men and women categories respectively which means that this year there will be two M25 and W25 Tournaments for both Men and Women; the first taking place from 7-13 October, while the second holds from 14-20 October, 2019.
The total prize money remains $100,000. All qualified players in the Main Draws get a share of this prize money,” said Akinyelure.
He appreciated all the partners and sponsors of the competition especially Heineken, which is coming in starting from this year.
Akniyelure applauded the support the tournament has been receiving from the Lagos State Government and most especially the incumbent, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu. Senor Brand Manager, Heineken, Mfom Bassey said the brand known for its quality and general acceptability would pull its strength and weight behind the Lagos Open as it has done to other sports competitions such as UEFA Champions League, F1 and others.
“We will continue this partnership we started with Lagos Open this year and all stakeholders will have the cause to appreciate Heineken for this support in the years to come,” said Bassey.
President of Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Ademola Akin-Taylor said that for the past 16 years, it has been the great privilege of the club to host the prestigious event, as it has continued to hold the banner of excellence in our hosting.
“It is a thing of pride for us to recall that, since its inception 19 years ago, the Lagos Open, which used to be known as the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, has, without doubt been a stepping stone for tennis players, and a nurturing ground for aspiring superstars. For those who did not know Ukrainian-born Elina Svitona, who is currently ranked 5th in the world, is one of those superstars of the Lagos Open Tennis,” Akin-Taylor said. President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju, which is the custodian of the tournament, said that players are expected from 57 countries of the world in the 19th edition of the tournament. Akindoju who spoke through a board member of the NTF, Ms. Funmilayo Koya-Adako enjoined Nigerians to troop out in their numbers to watch exciting tennis action at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan starting from Monday, 7 October.