The 39th Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Open Tennis championship will kick off on Thursday ( May 25) at the National Stadium, Lagos, without defending champions, USA-based Moses Michael and Russia-based Melissa Ifidzhen.
tournament coincides with her examinations in Russia.
Over 300 players are to feature in the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF-organised annual tournament which has total prize money of N11,248,000.
Men's and women's singles winners go home with N700,000 each, while the runners-up in both categories will collect N500,000 each as prize money.
There are also men's doubles, women's doubles, wheel chair men’s singles and wheel chair women’s singles titles at stake in the tournament billed to end on June 3.
CBN Ag. Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor in his remarks said that the continued sponsorship of the championship is a testimony to CBN's resolve to promote and develop tennis in the country, as it has been sponsoring the junior circuits too.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of NTF, Mariam Akande said: "This is the biggest domestic event in the calendar of the Nigeria Tennis Federation and we are set for a hitch-free tournament".
Akande urged the players to play by the rules.
Michael, it will be recalled, last year defeated Sylvester Emmanuel 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in an epic final, while Ifidzhen successfully defended the women's title when she dumped Christy Agugbom 6-3, 6-2.
Caption: Melissa Ifidzhen, not available to defend her CBN Open women's singles title.