The year 2020 has been quite challenging for everyone because of the Covid-19 virus global pandemic which has brought lockdowns, travel bans, restrictions on social gatherings, limitations on sporting activities etc
Apex Tennis Academy and tennis lovers all over the world just like everyone else have had to adapt. Wimbledon 2020 was cancelled for the first time since World War 2. Several players withdrew from the US Open and the French Open tournament had to be rescheduled from May to October.
At the time of writing this article, on Saturday 10th October 2020, the 19 yearly Polish female tennis player, Iga Swiatek had just defeated 23 year old Russian born American, Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 to win her first Grand Slam title.
An extraordinary feat considering her young age. Speaking of young tennis players, we turn our attention to tennis in Nigeria where the 14th edition of the annual Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) national youth lawn tennis tournament took place at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club Onikan.
Incidentally ATA recently got permission from Mr and Mrs Yakubu to interview their daughters , Nene and Ouiza who both participated in the 2020 CBN Open tennis tournament and are among the top tennis players in Nigeria. Below are the insightful details:
At what age did you start playing lawn tennis? I started playing lawn tennis at 7 years old. Which school did you attend? I attended Gibraltar Secondary School, Ogba Lagos. Which tennis tournaments have you competed in? I have played at CBN Junior tournament, Chevron Junior tournament etc
What is your biggest achievement as a tennis player so far? My biggest tennis achievement so far was when I represented Nigeria in Benin Republic for the Confederation of African Tennis/International Tennis Federation (CAT/ITF), under 12 team event last year 2019 and we won Gold.
I have also won the CBN junior tennis title 3 times back to back. Nene Yakubu won the CBN under 12 title for a record fourth time in October 2020.
Do you parents support you in your tennis endeavours? Yes, I get a lot of support from my parents. What are your aspirations for the future? I would like to play (WTA) Womens Tennis Association tournaments and win grand slams in the future.
How many siblings do you have? I have three siblings and we are a very sporty family.
What advice do you have for other youngsters? I would advise youngsters to stay focused and believe in their dreams.
Speaking of siblings, Nene’s older sister Oiza also responded to some questions from Apex Tennis Academy. She also started playing tennis around age 7 and attended the same school, Gibraltar Secondary school in Ogba Lagos. Competing in the 7 UP all school tennis tournament , the CBN Open junior tennis tournament and up to 20 other local tournaments. Internationally, Oiza said she represented Nigeria in Togo at the CAT/ITF under 14 event in 2019 and won bronze in singles and gold in doubles. Her advice to youngsters is not to relent and keep working hard.