It would be hard to prove to young tennis players that Kaduna Clay court hosted ATP tournaments between the year 1981 and 1982 when the annual clay court event – a senior National tournament, metaphors to global prominence.
The Kaduna Clay Courts carved out a remarkable piece of history when great tennis players like former world number one, Thomas Muster, and the four musketeers of Nigeria tennis, Nduka Odizor, Sadiq Abdullahi, David Imonitie and Tony Mmoh, graced the ATP tournaments, which only lasted for two years before it slips back to the Senior National Tournament in 1983.
In retrospective, the senior National tournament was first staged in 1975 before it births the long reign Junior National Tournament three years after, which recently ended its 11th edition on the 29th November 2020, after more than a decade of stalemate.
In an interview with North’s Greatest Tennis Ambassador – Sadiq Abdullahi, the former champion described Kaduna Clay Courts as one of the most organised during his playing days.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State Tennis Association have planned to bring back Kaduna Clay Court Tournaments to its prime, according to Ubale Mohammed, the state coach.
“Kaduna is gradually coming back to tennis like we used to do. Now we are starting with the grassroots program, you can see from the entries, [although] this is the first time after many years, we are having a large turnout.” Over 100 players from 18 states competed at the just-concluded Junior National tournament.
Sooner or later, according to the coach, the Kaduna Club, which house the Kaduna Clay Court Events would wear a new look.
“Subsequently we are going to be having other tournaments because the Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is so much interested in Tennis because he used to come here in the 80s to watch the ATP tournaments. Firstly, he plans to renovate the whole club to international standards.”
it is only when the Kaduna Clay Courts get back to the good old days that it would be easier for the young generation of tennis players to believe the venue hosted ATP Championship in the past.