The winners of the last edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria Open Tennis Championship will not be present to defend their crown at the 2017 edition of the annual tournament.
It was gathered that defending women’s champion, Melissa Ifidzhen, will miss the tournament as it coincides with her examination in Russia, while men’s current champion, Moses Michael, who is now based in the U.S. will not be available to defend his title.
Despite the impending absence of the defending champions, organisers are still confident that the 39th CBN Championship which will hold at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos from May 25 to June 3 will leave to its billing.
There would be six categories of titles at stake in the tournament expected to feature no fewer than 300 players, namely Men’s singles, Women singles, Men’s doubles, Women’s doubles, Wheel Chair Men’s singles and Wheel Chair Women’s singles.
The total prize money for the tournament is N11,248,000 with men’s and women’s singles winners going home with N700,000 each while the runners-up of the two categories will get N500,000 each.
“This is the biggest domestic event in the calendar of the Nigeria Tennis Federation and we are set for a hitch-free tournament,” NTF Secretary General, Mariam Akande, said.
In his remarks, the Ag. Director, Corporate Communications Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okorafor said that, the continued sponsorship of the championship shows the bank’s commitment to promoting and developing the game of tennis in Nigeria. The CBN also sponsors the Junior Tennis Tournament which serves as a feeder to the senior championship.
The main draw for the men’s singles is the round of 64 (six matches to the final) while that of the women is 32 (five matches to the final). There would also be four wild cards for the men’s main draw and two wild cards for the women’s main draw.