INDICATIONS have started emerging that the 12th Lagos Governor’s Cup Tennis Championship would be one of the most keenly contested events in Nigeria in recent time with the quality of players that have registered for the ITF tennis championship.
Among the top stars that have registered for the Etisalat Nigeria and FCMB-sponsored championship is Nina Bratchikova of Russia – the female star that reached the second round of the 2012 Australia Open.
She is expected in Lagos next week for the Governor’s Cup, which will hold from October 13 to 27 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan. Nina, ranked 93rd in the world, is a past winner of the Governor’s Cup and she is coming to fight for the $50,000 prize money for the women’s category.
Other regular faces at the Governor’s Cup are Kristina Kucova of Slovakia (269th), Germany’s Anne Schaefer (294th), Swiss Conny Perrin, Romania’s Laura-loana Andrei (330th), Melanie Klaffner of Austria (384th), Karolina Nowak of Germany, Italy’s Lara Rafful, Agnes Szatmari and Ester Masuri.
Some of the Nigerian ladies that have registered for the competition are Fatimah Abinu, Christie Agugbom, Chinenye Ndidi Izuogu, Blessing Samuel, Blessing Anuna and Osariemen Airhumwunde.
Laurent Rochette of France, who has been a regular face in Lagos, is leading the pack in the men’s category. He is ranked 203rd in the world. Other regular players coming for the championship are past winner Kamil Capkovic of Slovakia (255th), India’s Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan (452nd), Vijayant Malik of India (475th), and South Africa’s Ruan Roelofse (489th).
The Nigerian male players already registered for the tourney are Shehu Lawal (1406th), Candy Idoko (1669th) Clifford Enosoregbe (1669th), Onyeka Mbanu (1669th), Kehinde Alade, Destiny Ford Da Silva, Monday Igbinovia, Samuel Omoile, Ganiyu Yussuf, Pekun Akingbade, Sunday Igbinovia, Omotayo Kaseem Rasaki, Sanni Adamu and Bolaji Olawepo.
In all, players from 55 countries have signified interest in this year’s competition. The countries include United States, Spain, France, Russia, Poland, South Africa, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
There are also Ukraine, Italy Czech, Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ghana, Omar, Pakistan, Syria and Tunisia, among others.