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Tennis

Stars Stumbled at Wimbledon as Murray, Djokovic Crash Out

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Defending Champion, Andy Murray on Wednesday crashed out at the quarter finals of Wimbledon after losing in a five set game to 24th seeded Sam Querrey of the U.S. 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

It was indeed a difficult match for the defending champion as he was limping between points and fading down the stretch. He had come into the tournament dealing with a sore left hip and it clearly impeded him at Centre Court. He grimaced as he stumbled or landed awkwardly while attempting shots.

The American took full advantage to reach the first Grand Slam semifinal of his career — and the first for any American man anywhere since Andy Roddick was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2009. “I am still in a little bit of shock myself,” Querrey said.

Murray was not the only surprise exit. Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic stopped playing because of a right arm injury while trailing 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 7-6 (2), 2-0.

After dropping the opening set, Djokovic took a medical timeout while a trainer massaged his arm. A day earlier, during his fourth-round match, Djokovic had his right shoulder worked on by a trainer.

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But seven-time champion Roger Federer moved into his 12th semifinal at the All England Club with a straightforward 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic. That left Federer as the only member of the sport’s so-called Big four still standing: In addition to the exits for Murray and Djokovic, Rafael Nadal lost in the fourth round. That quartet has combined to win each of the past 14 Wimbledon titles.

In Friday’s semifinals, Querrey will face 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, who also won a five-setter Wednesday, getting past 16th-seeded Gilles Muller 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 with the help of 33 aces. On the other half of the draw, Federer will face Berdych.

Murray is normally a terrific returner, but Querrey hit 27 aces. He was impeccable for portions of the match, finishing with 70 winners and only 30 unforced errors.

“He was dictating all of the points,” Murray said.

From 1-all in the fourth, Querrey grabbed eight games in a row to take that set and lead 3-0 in the last.

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“I didn’t start my best, but I just kept with it. Kept swinging away and then really found a groove in the fourth and fifth set,” Querrey said. “And everything kind of seemed to be falling my way then.”

It is the second year in a row that the 29-year-old Californian upset the defending champion and top-seeded man at the All England Club. In 2016, he ended Djokovic’s 30-match Grand Slam winning streak by beating him in the third round.

Murray didn’t have that sort of recent dominance, but he is a three-time major champion and had been to at least the semifinals at the All England Club in seven of the past eight years.

The hip, though, was a problem this time. Murray had to skip some practice sessions and pull out of a couple of planned exhibition matches before Wimbledon. Even though he kept insisting once the tournament began that he was OK, he was not capable of his best.

Murray’s serve speeds slowed, and his backhands didn’t have their usual verve. He couldn’t play his usual court-covering defense.

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“I was pretty close today. It wasn’t like I was, like, a million miles away from winning the match,” Murray said. “Obviously the end was a bit of a struggle.”

Querrey is the lowest-ranked player to ever beat two-time Wimbledon champion Murray in his 12 appearances at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

For Murray, this was the fourth five-set match he’s lost in a row. Querrey is headed in the opposite direction: Merely 4-10 in fifth sets for his career until last week, he has won each of his last three matches by going the distance: against 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round, Kevin Anderson in the fourth, and now Murray.

Querrey always has had an intimidating serve, but he’s never managed to put together his overall game for enough matches to play on the final weekend at a major.

Indeed, until last year’s win over Djokovic, he might have been best known for some of his unusual off-court episodes. In Thailand for a 2009 tournament, he cut two muscles in his right arm when he sat on a glass table that shattered. Two years ago, he appeared on the reality TV show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” There’s a popular video clip on social media of Querrey — sunglasses and hat on, shirt unbuttoned — dancing with friends wearing horse-head masks.

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Now Querrey’s on-court accomplishment Wednesday will make headlines. Win two more matches, and he’ll be the Wimbledon champion.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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African Games

Nigeria’s last African Games medal to come from tennis

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Nigeria’s last African Games medal to come from tennis

Nigeria’s second position at the African Games is already sealed as the curtain falls on the delayed Accra 2023 tonight. As usual, Egypt are the runner-away leaders with an amazing 52 gold medals more than that of second-placed Nigeria.

Overall, Egypt have 187 medals as against Nigeria’s 121 as at close of competition on Friday night.

This Saturday, there are contests in just three disciplines – Cricket, Tennis and Volley ball. Nigeria will be involved in only women’s final, playing against Egypt.

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Former Nigerian Ace, Odizor Cries For Tennis Revival –

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Former Nigerian Ace, Odizor Cries For Tennis Revival -

Former tennis player, Nduka Odizor is saddened by the state of the sport in Nigeria and wants those saddled with the responsibility of administering the sport to wake up to their primary duties of developing the game.

Nduka “The Duke” Odizor as he was fondly called during his playing days blames the retrogression of tennis in the country on a lack of continuity and consistency on the part of the Nigeria Tennis Federation.

Odizor started playing tennis as a school boy in Benin city, Edo State and went on to feature in the national sports festival and the national tennis team as a teenager.

He was part of Nigeria’s Davis Cup team and represented Nigeria at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

He won several singles and doubles titles in Lagos and at the popular Ogbe Hard Court in Benin City.

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He went on to win international tournaments in Taiwan, Mexico, Dallas, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and other cities.

At the peak of his tennis career, Odizor reached the fourth round of the Wimbledon Open in 1983 and was the only Nigerian to play on centre court at the All England club.

He featured in the U.S Open, the French Open and Australian open and was rated number 52 in the ATP world ranking in 1984.

Despite his vast experience, expertise, exposure and knowledge of the sport as a former player and member of important global tennis organisations, Odizor is yet to impact the administration of tennis in Nigeria.

He said he made several efforts with the intentions to administer Nigerian tennis but was never welcomed.

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“I made moves and I tried to help, but the bad system in Nigeria would not welcome people like me who know and understand the game but not ready to play dirty politics.

“It’s been difficult to get into the tennis federation because those of us who are based overseas have been shut out. You wouldn’t believe that several years after being voted into office, nobody in the Nigeria tennis federation has reached out to me to seek my contribution. it’s a shame.”

Odizor who had a part of his secondary school education at the famous New Era secondary school in Benin City, featured and won titles at the Ogbe Hard Court tournament in Benin.

The once popular and glamorous tennis championship has been extinct for many years, but Odizor is keen on collaborating with the Edo State Government to resuscitate the event.

“It will be quite busy for me this year, because I had a meeting with Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and we are making plans to restart the Ogbe Hard Court Tennis Championship in Benin.

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“Besides that, I will be running and funding at least six different tournaments in all the geo-political zones of Nigeria and that will be my little way of helping Nigerian tennis”

 

 

Duke Odizor established a tennis foundation in 2004 which he runs from his base in Houston, the United states and his office in Abuja and Asaba in Nigeria. Through the foundation, Odizor returns to Nigeria often to hold tennis clinics and teach Nigerian children how to play the game.

 

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WINNERS EMERGE FROM IKOYI CLUB/SEVEN-UP SECONDARY SCHOOL LAWN TENNIS COMPETITION

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After an intense five days of technical tutoring and competition, winners have emerged from the maiden edition of Ikoyi Club Lawn Tennis competition for Secondary Schools in Lagos State, sponsored by a leading soft drink manufacturing company, Seven-Up Bottling Company.

ThankGodAdakole from Falomo Senior High School defeated another School mate two sets to one, to grab the Male senior category trophy, Ozioiza Yakubu from Gilbrata Secondary School emerged the Female Single Senior category winner.

Ohunene Yakubu also from Gilbrata went home with the female junior category medal,while Silas Isaac a JSS 3 student from Master Moulders Secondary defeated another public school player to win the Male Junior Category.

Various participants that got to the quarter and semi -finals were given award of encouragement, while coaches and other officials were recognized for their efforts and contribution to the success of the competition.

The competition which was targeted at developing talents and training the trainers had over 240 students male and female from the public and private secondary schools in attendance as well as senior tennis coaches with the support of National Tennis Federation.

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Speaking at the closing ceremony, Chairman Tennis Section, Ikoyi Club, Abimbola Okubena noted that, participation of players and coaches was outstanding as the aim of the competition and clinic was met.

One of the greatest score of the five day competition was the train the trainer session which focused on shaping the technicality of the tennis coaches.

He added that, there will be follow up on the clinic to sharpen the young star on technicality, game rules and overall flair for the game. As they are the future of tennis development in Nigeria.

Okubena, appreciated tennis federation and Seven-Up bottling for their various contributions toward the actualization of the maiden edition of the competition. ‘The competition is expected to expand to all secondary schools in Lagos next edition’. Abimbola stated.

Boys’ single winner, ThankGod Adakole, speaking on behalf of the winners applauded Ikoyi club for the idea and seven-up for giving a lead to developing young talents that will propel tennis game appreciation.

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The Ikoyi Club was established as a European club in 1938 in Ikoyi, Lagos. It occupies approximately 456 acres of land. In the subsequent years, the club merged with the Lagos Golf Club. Besides the golf course, the club also has many sports and relaxation amenities for members and their families.

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