Saturday, April 6, 2019

BBC gets a ‘history lesson’ — after goof on top tennis tournaments in Africa

BBC gets a ‘history lesson’ — after goof on top tennis tournaments in Africa
March 07
11:17 2018

Russell Fuller of BBC Sport Africa inferred in an interview with Serena Williams that Africa has never hosted a “top tennis tournament”.

But Taiwo Obe, respected journalist and teacher, has faulted the claim — with facts.

Fuller had asked Williams about her thoughts regarding a major tennis championship being held in Africa “one day”, and she said: “You know it’s something I thought about and I would like to keep thinking about it. I am glad you brought it up because I think it would be amazing. It would be so much fun.”

Obe immediately corrected the assertion and proceeded the give a “tennis history lesson” to the BBC.

The founder and director of Journalism Clinic shared on Twitter a few international tennis tournaments that have taken place in Africa.

According to Obe, “Black Africa’s first professional tennis tournament, part of the World Championship Tennis pro-circuit series, was in Lagos in February 1976.”

He added: “Nigeria used to host several international tennis tournaments including what was then known as the Lagos Classics and the Ogbe Hard Court tournament in Benin City, which drew big tennis stars of the time and had big cash prizes to boot.”

Further checks conducted by TheCable showed that there have been tennis championships of international standard in Africa.

Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Burundi, Gabon, Nigeria, and Rwanda have all hosted ITTF’s Pro Circuit tournaments. In 2013, Morocco hosted an ATP World Tour championship.

Some of the major tournaments held in Africa are:

South African Open/South African Championships

The South African Open – also known as the Altech NCR South African Open and the Panasonic South African Open – is a defunct Grand Prix Tennis Tour, World Championship Series, ATP Tour and Virginia Slims Circuit affiliated tennis tournament.

Five players share the record for the most male wins at the tournament in the Open Era. They include Rod Laver (1969, 1970), Jimmy Connors (1973, 1974), Harold Solomon (1975, 1976), Vitas Gerulaitis (1981, 1982) and Aaron Krickstein (1992, 1993).

The tournament held from 1891 to 2011.

Open du Togo/Open de Cotonou

Open du Togo was conceived in 2012 and held for two more years.

Alexandre Renard, Juan Gomez, and Alexis Klegou are some of the international players who participated in the tournament.

Klegou won all three tournaments since 2012.

Lagos WCT

The 1976 Lagos WCT, also known as the 1976 Lagos Tennis Classic, was a men’s tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.

The event was part of the 1976 World Championship Tennis circuit. Unseeded Dick Stockton won the singles title.


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