Team Nigeria begins title defence tomorrow

TennisBallandRacquetTeam Nigeria will begin their quest to defend their overall winners’ status as the ITF West & Central Africa U-18 Circuit serves off tomorrow in Cotonou, Benin Republic, with Angel McLeod as the top seed in the girls’ category.

Nigeria are the regional superpower in West and Central Africa and have been dominating junior tennis in the zone, but they will have their dominance put to severe test, as players from Great Britain, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Turkey, among others, will also be participating due to the world point-ranking status of the six-day tournament.

Aside McLeod, who arrived for the tournament yesterday alongside Nigeria’s junior tennis head coach, Mohammed Ubale, the country will also feature Barakat Quadri, Michael Osewa, Christopher Bulus, Christopher Itodo and France-based Crystal Nzewi, who are in a 15-member team scheduled to depart Lagos for the 120km journey to Cotonou today.

Having excelled at the 14 and under level, Quadri will be making her debut at the 18 and under level and Ubale believes her year-long training at the ITF Development Centre in Morocco should guide her to an impressing start in the new class. “Quadri is just 14 and she would be competing with players that are much older from now on because of her exposure which I am sure will help her to great performance.”

“We all saw how impressive she was against Melissa Ifidzhen at the CBN Open few months ago and that should help her play without fear against any of the much older opponents.”After the assignment in Benin, the team will move further west of the continent to Lome, Togo, where they will spend another two weeks in continuation of the circuit.

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