Ahead of his championship match against Abdulmumin Babalola at the CBN Open, Sylvester Emmanuel, who’s the defending champion at the CBN Open, tells the toughest national tournament in Nigeria.

According to the 21-year-old, the CBN Open is the most difficult event to win, considering the men’s draw size of 64 as against say, Dala Hard Court Championship in Kano, which has a main draw size of 32.

“I think CBN is tougher, because CBN you get to play three matches before you get to the quarterfinals, while Dala you just have to play two matches before the quarterfinals,” he said.

“So if you look at it, CBN is tougher because you get to play more matches before you win the tournament, but Dala you play less matches,” Emmanuel, who won the Dala title in 2016 and 2017, added.

However, he stated that while the CBN is a tougher tournament, it is favourable than others to players because of the weather conditions at the time the tournament usually holds, unlike the Dala Hard Court, which holds around November/December during harmattan.

“Still CBN,” he said, when asked about the more favourable tourney. “Because every year, almost all the players complain about the weather in Kano, because that’s when it gets cold in Kano. Most of the players usually don’t like it.

“Plus the weather isn’t really good, the balls are strong, so you won’t feel comfortable playing. It’s kind of tough there.”

Emmanuel will seek to cap off a remarkable week of tennis in Abuja by defending his CBN Open title on Saturday.