By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Nigeria’s s commercial nerve center, Lagos will from Monday October 7, 2019 witness the best of tennis action as about 240 players from 57 countries are set to storm the state for the 2019 edition of the Lagos Open Tennis championship which serves off at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye told our correspondent that all logistics have been put in place for the successful organisation of 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.
He 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 gets a share of this prize money,” said Oladunjoye even as he appreciated all the partners and sponsors of the competition especially Heineken, which is partnering the organisers for the first time and the Lagos State Governnent for it’s consistency in sponsoring the tournament.
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) 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 the 19th Lagos Open Tennis. 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.Some of the 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.