Oparaoji, who is currently ranked national number one, calmly outclassed Henry Atseye in two straight sets 6-2, 6-2 for the tournament maiden title.
Atseye who explore his weapon picking valuable points with his series of serving aces to intimidate his opponent, which gave the impression that he was ready to subdue his opponent, but could not cope with Oparaoji’s series of volley and cross court shots that saw the latter churning up points thus breaking with ease to end the encounter in two straight sets.
According to Nigeria men number one “It was hard training and determination that earned me the victory, I’ve been battling with injury most times last year that denied me the Rainoil title. But since after I have overcome the injury, I put in my all in training to be able to attain these feat he said.
Speaking further, “Being ranked number one is a hot seat and very challenging, which I must work hard to sustain.
On his desire for the year 2022, “I’m looking forward to representing the country in major international tournament”, said left handed Uche Oparaoji after collecting his coveted trophy.
While responding to questions, Oparaoji dismissed Atseye’s big service as no threat.
“I know him (Henry Atseye) as a player with big service, and I have the antidote to it. Most of the aces he served was an error on the line umpire”, Oparaoji stated.
The champion had seen off hard fighting Wilson Igbinovia 7-6(4), 6-4 in the semifinal; the match Oparaoji said forced him to consult his wealth of experience. “My semifinal match was tough I must confess, but I survived it”.
In the ladies final, Marylove Edwards Nigeria women number one player, overcome Jummai Mohammed 6-1, 6-2 and said she needs to work hard to improve on her ITF points from her current 200 position.
The victory is a good start for me for the year and I believe that many more will come, it is a national event but my dream is to play international tournaments”.
My desire for the game in 2022 is that I am aiming to join the women’s tennis association, WTA ranks this year, and I more focus in achieving that these year, she said.
Kenneth Eziaga, the tournament director who also manages Tennis Management Company Limited the organiser if the weeklong tournament, said the National Top 8 would be a main feature in the Nigeria Tennis Federation programmes and it be run four times in a year.
The first edition is always a learning opportunity. There are a lot of lessons we have learned from it. We are happy that it has come to past as the players had a good time, the next edition would be better”.
He said the final of Abuja Tennis Cup could not feature before Saturday, January 1, 2022 owing to logistics.
“We are considering November this year for the second edition of this Abuja Tennis Cup tournament.
“This Top 8 would be a tournament to determined players will want to feature. Both the men and ladies would struggle hard to belong to this elite group, and this would result in the development of the game”, Kenneth Eziaga concluded.
Earlier, president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation Ifedayo Akindoju said his board will continue to partner with private individuals and corporate organizations to promote the development of tennis in the country.
Pictures By Sunday Maglo