…. kickstarts 2019 ITF World Tennis Tour
The ITF World Tennis Tour – M25 events for 2019 will begin on Monday in Abuja with the Tombim Abuja Open, Ikani Agabi, the Tournament Director, Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), said on Friday.
The three events — Tombim Abuja Open, Dayak Tennis Championship and the GSL Open — hold at the Abuja National Stadium and go with 25,000 US dollars prize money each.
While the Tombim event will hold from Monday to April 14, the second leg will see the Dayak event holding from April 15 to April 21.
The third and final leg will be the GSL Open, and it will hold from April 22 to April 28.
The Tombim Abuja Open is now in its fifth edition, while the Dayak Open is in its fourth year and the GSL Open is in its third year.
Agabi, at a media briefing in Abuja, said this would be the first time all the competitions would run under the new ITF world tennis tour format introduced in March 2017.
He added that the tour was the new name for all 2019 ITF tournaments played from the junior circuit up to certain men’s tournaments and women’s tournaments.
The official further explained that the use of “Pro Circuit’’, “Futures’’ and “Transition Tour’’ would no longer be used as labels.
“The men’s and women’s tournaments will be known by their prizes (15,000 dollars tournaments).
“The three events in Nigeria this month are M25 events with hospitality, which means that the prize money is 25,000 dollars and that there is hospitality.
“The M25 tournament is an entry-level competition for professional players, and usually features some of the best up and coming players in the world.
“There are only four M25 events in Nigeria, with the Lagos Governor’s Cup being the other one with the three holding in Abuja,’’ he said.
Agabi said the three tournaments’ sponsorship was in collaboration with the NTF and other sponsors — Tombim Nigeria Limited, Dayak Nigeria Limited and Gladiators Systems Limited.
He added that the tournaments, which are male-only events, would feature singles and doubles matches.
“The finals of the singles events are scheduled for April 14, April 21 and April 28, while the doubles’ finals will be on April 13, April 20 and April 28.’’
Agabi disclosed also that the competition was borne out of a desire to provide opportunities for Nigeria’s players to collect vital ATP points.
“It is also to help attract some of the best up-and-coming players in the world to play in Nigeria.
“The organisers also want to use the competition to show that Nigeria is not as bad as it is portrayed around the world.
“The firm belief of the organisers is that events of this nature will contribute positively to building the structure of Nigerian tennis and the images of Nigeria internationally’’.
Dayo Akindoju, MD/CEO of Dayak Nigeria Limited and President of NTF, also said the tour would promote further development in the sport.
“The NTF is taking Nigeria to the next level in tennis through these events, and the World Tour, Challenger Series and others are coming up very soon in Abuja.’’
He assured that all facilities were in place for a successful tournament, with a lot of renovation done in the past few days.(NAN)