The press conference for the 2019 Lagos Open held on Thursday, 3 October at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos.
The presser was done to inform the general public about facts and information about the two-week annual event, which will take place from 7-20 October in Lagos.
The event, which has a total prize-money of $100,000, is in two legs, with the first leg holding from Monday, 7-13, while the second leg taking place from 14-20. Each leg has a prize-money of $50,000, with $25,000 each for the men and women categories.
The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Chief Pius Akinyelure, during the presser, said all is set for the tournament, which has held every year since 2000 to celebrate the sitting Governor of Lagos State. This year will be the first in the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Chief Akinyelure, who spoke through the Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye, said the ITF has redefined the nomenclature of its futures tournament to reflect the prize money, as it will be the first time that the tournament will run under the ITF World Tennis Tour format which was introduced in March, 2017 and implemented this year.
Under this new format, the tournaments will be known as M25+H and W25, both having a prize-money of $25,000 each with hospitality for the men. (M & W denoting the gender; 25, the prize-money, and +H denoting hospitality).
“All qualified players in the main draw will get a share of this prize money.”
He appreciated all the partners and sponsors of the competition especially Heineken, which is coming in as sponsor for the first time, while also applauding the Lagos State Government and most especially the incumbent Governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu for their support.
The Senior Brand Manager of Heineken, Mr. Mfom Bassey noted that the brand known for its quality and general acceptability will pull its strength and weight behind the Lagos Open as it has done to other sport competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and Formula One.
“We will continue this partnership we started with the Lagos Open this year and all stakeholders will have the cause to appreciate Heineken for this support in the years to come,” said Bassey.
The President of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Mr. Ademola Akin-Taylor also addressed the media, stating that for the past 16 years, it has been the great privilege of the club to host this prestigious event, as it has continued to hold the banner of excellence in hosting.
“It is a thing of pride for us to recall that, since its inception 19 years ago, the Lagos Open, which used to be known as the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, has, without doubt been a stepping stone for tennis players, and a nurturing ground for aspiring superstars,” Mr. Akin-Taylor said.
“For those who did not know, Ukrainian-born Elina Svitona, who is currently ranked 5th in the world, is one of those superstars of the Lagos Open Tennis,” the Club President added.
Also, Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju, the President of Nigeria Tennis Federation, which is the custodian of the tournament, said that players are expected from 57 countries for this year’s edition.
Engr. Akindoju, who was represented by a board member of the NTF, Ms. Funmilayo Koya-Adako, enjoined Nigerians to troop out in their numbers to watch exciting tennis action at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
The 2019 Lagos Open is live from the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos from 7-20 October.