By Olayinka Elebute And Oluwole Francis
Nigeria’s youngsters of Wilson Igbinovia and Marylove Edward yesterday improved their rankings in the ITF World Cup J5 tournament by winning the Abuja leg back to back on Sunday at the MKO Abiola Stadium.
Marylove first consolidated her position in the world tour futures by beating compatriot Mary Godwin 6/0 6/3 before Lagos Lawn Tennis boy Wilson Igbinovia made a double in two weeks by defeating hardfighting American Rohan Belday 7/6 6/3 to throw tennis enthusiasts including Chairman Caretaker Committee of the Nigeria Tennis Federation NTF, Engineer Ifedayo Akindoju into ecstasy.
In a post match chat Lagos boy Igbinovia said he just have to charge himself up and chose the angle he felt his opponent is weak and it paid off.
He said since this is his last year in the cadre he would be looking forward to improve his ranking at the next in tourney in Tunisia before coming back for another World Cup tour in Nigeria in November.
His opponent, Belday who is the top seed said Igbinovia seems to be underatted in the ITF ranking adding he should be rated higher describing their tie as a great match.
“He played better, he had more balls and also have more stamina than me. I saw him last week and I knew what he was capable of doing, he is a great player, all I think he requires are supports to play more championships and he will be there,” the 15 year old New Jersey boy said.
The ladies single winner Marylove also said she was really happy with her performance in the championship in the last two weeks.
“I won because I kept my head low and fought hard to get the two titles. It is all about consistency and hardwork. My ambition is to get into the top 100 in the world,” she said.
Reacting after the tournament, Chairman Caretaker Committee of the Nigeria Tennis Federation NTF Engineer Ifedayo Akindoju described the standard as very high and was excited that his wards won the tournaments in both legs
Speaking further the Caretaker Chairman said, they have identified the pair of Igbinovia and Marylove the next thing will be to embark on how to expose them to bigger championships to further help in improving their career he said.
He however expressed his regrets in the area of procuring visas for them to attend big tournaments around the world.
“Once we are able to procure visas for them, we will package them and expose them to big championships in Europe and all over the world,” he said.
“There so many tournaments there which we don’t have in Africa, so if we can able to attend these tournaments we will be able to match them skill for skill. The right way to go is to make them play in such locations where there a lot of tournaments to be able to improve their rankings
The tournament was attended by players from all over the world including the USA, Israel, France and some neighboring countries.