Joel Adi, a former Nigerian tennis player, believes that only former players who have gone through the tennis path can truly reform the sport in the country.
The Kaduna State Tennis Association Chairman, made this assertion during a brief chat with Nigeria Tennis Live over the weekend.
Adi, a former champion himself, is sponsoring a return of the Kaduna Clay Court National Junior Tennis Championship through his company, Anchor Dataware Solutions, after many years of absence.
And he believes that their five-year plan to sustain the sponsorship will yield the desired results.
Asked why he decided to bring back the competition after many years of absence, he said: “Junior clay court is so special to me. I played juniors in Nigeria and also, I was a former champion. Also, at the Kaduna junior clay court tournament, I did very well when I played.
“If I’m not mistaken, I think that was before Kwara ’85, that was around ’83/’84. I got to the finals of the doubles and I lost in the quarterfinals of the singles, so, it’s something that I’m giving back through my company as a Corporate Social Responsibility and to show that Nigerian tennis can only grow with junior tournaments.
“Look at me now, I played in that junior clay court about 34 years ago, and I’m here now to sponsor, to give junior players the same opportunity I had 34 years go.”
Speaking of his company’s commitment, Adi said: “This is the first time that we would be sponsoring it and we are making a commitment that we will be sponsoring it for the next five years.”
Asked if there’s a contract to that effect, he noted: “There is no contract per se. Currently, I the Chairman of the Kaduna State Tennis Association, so, one of the things I’m doing to ginger tennis, is bringing back Kaduna Junior Clay Court.
“This will be the 11th edition and the first in so many years.
“Don’t forget that I lost in the doubles final and played to the quarterfinals of the singles.
“That tells you that it is only ex-players who have gone through this path, that can actually bring back the game of tennis in Nigeria.”
The junior tournament will feature players from every state in Nigeria, in the U-16 & U-14 categories for both boys and girls.
Starting from Monday, 23 November at the Kaduna State Club, the event is billed to climax on Saturday, 28 November.
Nigeria Tennis Live will bring our followers and readers up to speed with latest developments in the build up to the competition.