Nigerian Navy personnel, Lieutenant Hassan Shuaibu and WO PTI Dirisu Ngozi, both of whom are also tennis players, talk about how impactful competing in tennis tournaments has been, not just for them, but their colleagues, who are also players, and further revealed what combining Naval duties and tennis duties feel like.

Lieutenant Shuaibu appreciated the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, for enabling he and his colleagues—MWO Isa Arinola, WO PTI Ngozi Dirisu, WO PTI Fred Omuta, AB PTI Anthony Azuonye and OS PTI Emmanuel Onyejiaka—compete in tournaments based on invitations from the Nigeria Tennis Federation.

“I want to thank the Chief of Naval Staff for making it possible year by year, releasing us to witness all the championships in Nigeria, both the national tournaments and international tournaments,” the Lieutenant, who recently competed in the qualifiers of the Dala Championship in Kano last month, where he reached the second round, noted.

Another personnel, WO PTI Ngozi Dirisu said the sport has helped them as Navy personnel maintain physical fitness and because of how involved they are in tennis in Nigeria, a number of their colleagues have now taken interest in the Navy sports department.

“We [the 6 Navy players] were all tennis players before we joined the Navy. Now a lot of our colleagues want to come into the sports departments because of the way they see us play the sport,” Dirisu, who’s ranked 28th in Nigeria, disclosed

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Ngozi Dirisu in action at the CBN Open in June.

Not just his colleagues now, who are looking to join the sports department, but also other people who have taken a liking to the Navy as a whole. She also revealed that when people see them come for tournaments, they become eager to join the Navy.

“[Playing tournaments] has helped us create more interest into the Navy. People want to join the Navy because they see us come for tournaments, which is very good for us because we want them to come too.”

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However, it isn’t all rosy for them, as they have most times found it difficult combining Naval duties with tennis duties.

“Most times we don’t have the time to train because of our work schedules, but then we still try to make out time. The time we are supposed to use to rest we use it to train,” she added.