The parents of some players have expressed their thoughts on the first ITF Junior event hosted in Nigeria—the NTF International Junior Championships—and also pointed out areas in which the tournament can be improved upon going forward.

The father of Marylove Edwards—the 14-year-old who claimed the girls singles title in the first leg—commended the maiden event, but says there is still room for improvement.

“It’s fine that we are all seeing the ITF for the 1st time,” Mr Edwards said. “There’s still room for improvement.. they did well, players played enough matches, we look forward to the 2nd week to be much better than this.”

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Mr. Edwards with daughter, Marylove.

On what can be done by the NTF to improve the tournament, Mr. Edwards said, “Probably the area of media. I’m so surprised that no national station is doing anything to talk about the tournament, even the print media is doing nothing about it. By the 2nd leg I expect the NTF to improve on that.”

Mother of Serena Teluwo says it’s a “very nice and very good development.”

“It’s good for our kids. This time around they don’t need to go and play in another country, this one is ours and I’ve seen so many young talents coming up in this tournament.”

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Serena Teluwo (foreground) finished as runner-up in the girls doubles, partnering Oiza Yakubu

However, Mrs. Teluwo says provision should made regarding feeding for players and subsidizing entry fee for players.

“There are some things we need to put together,” she said. “Since this is the first time, there’s bound to be progress. Let’s see if we can make provision for food for the players and if the Federation can subsidize entry fee so we can have many participants.”

An anonymous parent also shared thoughts on the event, and is hoping there will be more of the ITF junior tournaments in Nigeria so that kids can get more ITF points and exposure.

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The parent also made a suggestion about officiating and giving more opportunities to junior players.

“In terms of officiating, maybe the idea of roving umpires can be converted to chair umpires. Then the NTF has to give more opportunities to other junior players that are unable to play this tournaments because of funds,” the parent said.

The father of David and Rebecca Ekpenyong says the Nigeria Tennis Federation has lived up to expectations and fulfilled their promise.

“The NTF have lived up to expectations,” Mr. Ekpenyong said. “The last time we were here for Play Your Age, they promised that the ITF tournament will come to Nigeria and it has happened. This means bringing tournaments to the doorstep of Nigerian players.

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Rebecca Ekpenyong made it to the semifinals in the girls singles last week.

“I’d love to see where they can see Nigeria’s representative in this tournament, sponsored athletes side by side with individual sponsors,” he added.

Main draw action for second leg of the NTF International Junior Championships is live from Tuesday, 12 November, at the National Tennis Centre, Abuja.