Nigerian umpire, Aisha Hirse, will be on international officiating duty in Australia and Finland in January and early February.

Hirse, who’s a White Badge official, will take on dual roles, working both as a chair umpire and line umpire in a number of events from the Canberra and Burnie Challenger tournaments to the Tweed Heads Wheelchair Open and the Australian Open Junior qualifiers before moving to Helsinki, Finland, for the Fed Cup in February.

She shared her feelings ahead of her trip, saying it is a privilege for her and an achievement for the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association.

“It’s an opportunity I never expected,” Hirse said. “I’m hoping to do my best, to make my association [NTUA], and my country proud.

“It’s a privilege,” she added. “I’ve been looking for it, but thank God it is here now.”

Hirse will be at the Canberra Challenger in Bendigo from the 6-11 January as a line umpire, and then at the Tweed Heads International Wheelchair Tennis Open on the 15th and 16th, before the Traralgon Junior International and the Australian Open Junior qualifiers from 17-23 January. Her final event in Australia will be at the Caterpillar Burnie International, an ATP Challenger event, from 27 – 1 February, where she will also be a line umpire.

She will arrive Finland on 3 February to officiate at the Fed Cup, where she will serve as a chair umpire in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II at the Tali Tennis Centre in Helsinki from 4-7 February, before returning to Nigeria on the 9th.

Hirse, who had previously been on officiating duties in African countries, including Ivory Coast, Gabon and South Africa, says this assignment means a lot to her, adding that it will serve as an opening for other umpires in the country.

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Aisha Hirse all smiles with Kelly Thompson (L) at the Advantage All Seminar in South Africa, September 2019.

“It’s an achievement for the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association,” she said. “It will be an opening for others. If I go, I will make them understand that I’m not the only one, and that we have others that are good.”

She also rated the level of officiating in Nigeria, noting that the standard is “so high,” adding that “most of the supervisors that come for ITF World Tennis Tour events in Nigeria always applaud us, that we are doing a great job.”

Saidu Musa and Arinola Isa, who are also officials in the country, will also be on assignments at international events this year, including the Tokyo Olympics.