Spanish coach thrilled by emerging Nigerian tennis talents

Spanish coach, Jose Velasco (centre) and youth coach, Paul Moses, after a training session with the junior players at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan

Top Spanish tennis coach, Jose Velasco, who rounded off his four-week coaching visit to Nigeria at the Lagos Country Club with a number of junior national players getting the latest techniques to step up their game, believes Nigerian junior players have the potential to grow into world-class athletes.

Prominent among the players are Serena Teluwo and Reya Holmes, who are using the programme as part of build up to the ITF/CAT 12 and Under African Junior Championship scheduled for Casablanca, Morocco in September.

While Serena is already assured of her place in the tournament, which will feature about 80 players from 20 countries, Reya is an alternate player for Nigeria, having missed out of the qualifiers held in Lagos in April through injury while on preparation in London. Former junior national team invitees, Filippo Trombi, Lolade Holmes, Gideon and Olamide Aluko are the others that took part in the programme, which included personal and group sessions.

Velasco, who was also at the VGC Club, is a revered ITF-certified coach noted for the nurturing of talents in Spain through his Grip 2 Tennis Academy in Vinaros, Spain. He is billed to resume work with the Saudi Arabia Tennis Federation this weekend, where he will take charge of the Gulf nation’s junior tennis programme for the next one year.

Having been in Nigeria for a similar programme two years ago, he submitted that Nigeria could produce world-class tennis stars if grassroots development was given adequate attention.

“Its a good and bad news for Nigeria in tennis. The good news is that there are lots of potential. The country is having lots of talents. However, the bad news is there’s lack of information regarding the coaching aspect.”

“They are paying so much attention to the kids such that they are overworking them on court. The pattern they are being put through is perhaps the toughest of all,” he submitted.

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Jose Velasco
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