Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has said his administration will support the setting up of a lawn tennis academy to attract global attention to the annual Lagos Open International Tennis Championship.
Ambode, who spoke on Saturday at the finals of the 2018 Lagos Open Championship at the Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, said the government had held talks with the state Lawn Tennis Association to open an academy with state-of-the-art facilities that would attract world class players in future competitions.
He said, “This is the beginning of the support that Lagos State will continue to give to Lagos Open. The idea is for us to move from this particular location and set up a lawn tennis academy that can actually have an upgrade of a world class competition.
“What we have here on this ground is just seven courts, but if you want the Lagos Open to be globally attended and globally competitive, we need an academy that will have like 16 courts and other facilities to attract world class players and Lagos is ready to partner the association.
“Because we want Lagos on the world map; Lagos State Government will support the idea of a lawn tennis academy and that is where we are going.”
The governor commended the organisers and officials of the Lawn Tennis Association for sustaining the tradition, adding that the government was proud to be a partner of the 18-year-old competition which was called the Governors Cup before it metamorphosed to the Lagos Open.
“I have enjoyed this particular tournament and I don’t think I have actually sat down somewhere for three hours in a long while. I want to congratulate the winners and also commend the officials and organisers,” he said.
Earlier, the governor displayed his tennis skills when he took part in a demonstration match as part of the activities at the championship.
Presenting an award of special recognition to Ambode, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the Lagos Open, Chief Pius Akinyelure, said the association deemed it fit to recognise the governor for his “enviable, untiring and significant support in the last few years towards the success of the competition.”
Jack Draper of Great Britain defeated Tom Jomby from France to emerge winner of the competition.