Organisers of the 2018 Lagos Open tennis championships are making frantic efforts to source money to host the tournament.
The ITTF- approved tournament is scheduled to hold from September 29 to October 13 at the Lagos Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos.
Our correspondent learnt that the event, formerly known as the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, might be called off after sponsors, including the Lagos State Government, failed to provide funds to stage the global championship.
The competition is organised annually to celebrate the Governor of Lagos State, since the era of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Renovation works at the LLTC, venue for the event, has been slow-paced, with the Local Organising Committee of the tourney reportedly unable to mobilise the management of the club to put finishing touches to the facilities a few days to the commencement of the event.
Other major areas like the advance hotel payment for the players’ accommodation, allowances of technical officials: referees, umpires and ball boys as well as prize money for the players have not been attended to by the organisers.
The LOC informed at a press conference to unveil the repackaged Lagos Open that the event was on the verge of becoming an ITF Challenger Series in the next three years with the target capacity to attract its own brand and sponsors while attracting tennis superstars to Lagos.
But a member of the LOC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the ITF Challenger Serie’ dream of the organisers might be truncated as they might be forced to cancel the event if the required funds were not made available.
“This may portend danger to the future organisation of the international tournaments in Lagos as this may bring severe sanctions on the LOC and the Nigeria Tennis Federation and more importantly a disgrace to Lagos,” our source stated.
The ITF had announced that over 130 tennis players from 47 nations would take part in this year’s event, with most of them already sending their arrival dates to the organisers.
Tournament director, Wole Oladunjoye, refused to be drawn on the funds issue but is instead optimistic of a successful event.
“We promise the world of the best tennis on show from emerging stars of the game at the 2018 Lagos Open. That is what I can assure you,” Oladunjoye stated.
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