Babalola, Lawal battle at Governor's Cup tennis
By John Egbokhan
Posted to the Web: Monday, October 09, 2006
Top Nigerian players, comprising Abdulmumuni Babalola, Shehu Lawal and Candy Idoko would from today begin their quest to win the Governor’s Cup Futures 1 holding at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
Babalola, the only seeded Nigerian players in the men’s singles draw, is bidding to do what no other Nigerian players has done in the last three years; win the Governor’s Cup. He is coming into this year’s event on a high after the victorious feat of the country’s Davis Cup team in Botswana, last July.
At that time, he paired US-based Jonathan Igbinovia to almost single-handedly book Nigeria a place in next year’s Davis Cup Euro-Africa Zone Group 11. Nigeria celebrated the feat in far-away Botswana but now, Babalola is competing as an individual and he must stay alert as he attempts to cross the first round hurdle in the $15,000 ITF Futures.
“I am hoping to do well at this tournament because it affords me the opportunity to improve on my ranking point, which I must confess to you, does not look good. I hope to do my best and pray that luck favours me”, said Babalola, who agrees that he faces tough tests at the tournament but remains adamant on conceding defeat rather easily.
“It is a game and like in every other game, only one player will emerge champion. It is left for any player to wish for what he wants and my wish is to be in good frame of mind to do well and get the luck that I deserve”, said the back-hander.
Other Nigerian players, jostling to win the Futures 1 of the Governor’s Cup, include Shehu Lawal and Candy Idoko. Both players, were to some extent, impressive at Niger State Governor’s Tennis Championship, held last month but the ongoing Futures 1 is another challenge altogether as it pitches them against players who are better ranked, better trained and more experienced.
The finals of the Futures 1 ends Saturday.