The first ITF World Junior Rankings for the year 2021 have just been released, and a total of 18 Nigerian junior players have reached an all-time high on the latest released rankings. Although, this is a drop from the last ranking, which had 30 Nigerians, many of which have since passed the age limit of playing in the Juniors.
Leading the pack is the sensational Oyinlomo Quadre, who is currently the highest ranked Nigerian on the Girls rankings. She’s also the highest ranked female player in the latest WTA rankings.
It comes as no surprise that on the international scene she’s leading in the Juniors section too. Quadre played in a number of competitions in places like Benin Republic, Tunisia and Algeria in 2019, before sealing that year off with the J5 Abuja title win. She then went on to claim the J3 Pretoria girls singles title early in 2020. Currently ranked 92 by the ITF, she’s only a few places behind the only other African on the Juniors list.
The second highest ranked Nigerian female player Marylove Edwards, is 360 spots behind Oyinlomo Quadre. Edwards, who won her first ITF Junior title in Abuja in 2019, is ranked 452 on the list, 201 spots better than she was at the end of 2020. After winning the singles and doubles title in the first week in Abuja, the former US-based tennis player will go on to reach the finals of both events again in the second week, retaining the doubles title partnering Quadre, before finishing runner-up in the singles to her doubles partner.
Other female players ranked on this year’s list include Oiza Yakubu (1090), Rebecca Ekpenyong (1428), Toyin Asogba(1574), Serena Teluwo (2015) and Chizitem Okonjo(2166). Apart from Oiza Yakubu and Chizitem Okonjo, every other Nigerian on the Girls Ranking achieved their ranking points from their participation in the two weeks of ITF Junior Tournament in Abuja in 2019.
16-year-old Emmanuel Jebutu leads the pack in the boys section. Jebutu, who reached the semifinals of both weeks in Abuja in 2019, losing to eventual champions on both occasions, is currently ranked 505 with 47.5 points; up 392 places from his last ranking.
In second place is FCT based Canice Abua, who last month won the Boys 16 title at the Kaduna Clay Court National Junior Tournament. Currently ranked 613, Canice Abua reached the Quarterfinals of the second week in Abuja in 2019, after emerging champion in the first week.
Other Nigerians on the list includes Wilson Igbinovia (1018), David Dawariye (1163), Musa Sani(1185), Elisha Olowogbile(1308), David Ekpenyong(1562), Suleiman Ibrahim (1562), Michael Emmanuel(1679), Peter John(1679) and Benjamin Ayuba(1953).