The 2019 Dala Hard Court Championship is underway in Kano, with players from all over the country battling for supremacy this week. Among them is Joseph Imeh, the country’s No. 2, who will be looking to defend his men’s singles title.

Imeh defeated Sylvester Emmanuel in straight sets to claim the title a year ago and says he’s fully prepared for a title-defense campaign next week.

“I’d say for now I’m fully prepared,” Imeh said about his level of preparation. “I’m the defending champion and I really need to defend it. I’d say I’m fully in top shape and I hope the best comes out.”

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The 21-year-old competed at the Lagos Open in October, but struggled with a leg injury, as he retired in the round of 16 of the first leg and in the first round of the second leg. However, he’s dismissed any fears about his fitness level and says he feels really good.

“It [the leg] is better now because I’ve had some massage on it and I got a physio to actually see what’s wrong with it and had some stretches on it,” Imeh said. “So I feel really good now and it’s kinda better and I can move better compared to the last competition I played.”

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Joseph Imeh at the Lagos Open

Imeh was in superb form on the national scene this time a year ago, with back-to-back title-triumphs coming at the Rainoil Open and Dala Hard Court. His winning streak, however, ended at the 2019 CBN Open in June. When asked if he was under any pressure to get back to title-winning ways, he said, “No. Because it’s not the 1st time I’m winning back to back. “So I really don’t feel pressure,” he added.

“With my preparations and everything, I feel I’m ready and good to go for it.”