Sylvester Emmanuel, who’s currently Nigeria’s number one, turned 21 on Thursday, 4 April, and made a birthday wish.
The youngster desires to be ranked significantly on the ATP standings, but knows it would be no easy task.
“I want to be top 100 in the world and I’m not giving myself any timeline,” said Emmanuel. “Tennis is tough, it takes time and patience and a lot of hardwork.”
Emmanuel has enjoyed good years on the national scene and started representing Nigeria at the Davis Cup when he was 16. The young gun, having spent most part of his 2017 season in Barcelona, Spain, returned to the national scene and had a fruitful season last year.
He won back-to-back titles at the CBN Open and Vemp Open, and then made a run to the final of the Dala Hard Court Championship, before ending the year as the No.1 player in the country.
Being ranked inside the world’s top-100 could bring the young Nigerian on a par with the great Nduka Odizor, who flew the Nigerian flag in the 1980s. And for Emmanuel, that’s what he wants. “Oh, yes. Definitely,” he said.
Odizor reached a career-high ATP ranking of 52 in the world in 1984. The year before that, the Nigerian, who’s currently aged 60, reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, and also won his sole career singles title in Taipei. Odizor also reached the third round of the Australian Open and the US Open in 1985, and repeated the run two years later at the US Open.
In 1988, he represented Nigeria at the Summer Olympics in Seoul.