Nigerian Tennis rave of the moment, 13-year-old Oyinlomo Quadre is setting a tall dream for herself after watching American Serena Williams surpass Steff Graf’s glam slam record at the 2017 Australian Open. The tennis prodigy will return to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) High Performance Centre in Morocco to continue to hone her skills and the West and Central Africa U-14 champion said her modest dream is to dwarf Williams’ sister global feat.
At the just concluded ITF/CAT West and Central African Junior Tennis Championship held in Lome, Togo, Nigeria’s prodigy, Oyinlomo Quadre shone like a star among her contemporaries. Back-to-back, she claimed the U-14 girls’ title and she became the cynosure of all eyes in the competition.
However, the player is not ready to be carried away by the Togo feat, while hoping that she can claim more laurels outside the continent.
“My dream in tennis is to break Serena Williams and Steffi Graf’s record of grand slam titles, as well as to set up a tennis academy in Nigeria. Apart from this, I will want to practice as a lawyer,” she said.
Despite the laurels, Quadre admitted that the successes did not come on a platter of gold. “I cannot say that it has been easy because as an athlete, you don’t want to keep losing, you want to lose today and go back to improve and win next time. So every year, it’s new challenge for me, which also helps me improve too. Mainly, I want to be myself, have my own style that other people can admire. But I admire Roger Federer because of his calmness, fighting spirit and personality, which distinguishes him from others,” she added.
Recalling her sojourn into tennis, Quadre said: “I started playing tennis at the age of four, having grown up in Lagos Lawn Tennis Club where I played tennis every day and also watched my siblings play. I am sure that by God’s grace and with hard work, I can achieve all my dreams.”
Having trained outside Nigeria, the youngster admitted that combining sports with education is not an easy task. “When I was in Nigeria, it was not easy combining school and tennis because I had to miss a lot of tournaments because my education is more important than tennis. But right now, I live in Morocco where I study online and also play tennis. This has really been helpful for me to combine the two activities,” she admitted.
“As a player, you can never relax and just thinking that you are at the top of your game because no matter how good you are, there will always be something left to work on. There will always be one of your strokes that need more power to spin. So every day that I train there is always something I work and improve on.”
Quadre would remain grateful to people that have fanned her dream, which she singled out the late Chris Enahoro, whom he described as a mentor.
“I am getting the highest level of support morally, physically and financially from my family and I am so thankful to them. I am also getting a lot of support from some tennis Lovers, members of my club – Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Sterling Bank and my mentor, Late Chris Enahoro who had been very supportive through the Chevron Project before his demise recently. I will continue to work down in order not to let them down,” she explained.
In September 2016, Oyinlomo Quadre was nowhere near the world ranking, talkless of an African rating, but this week, she has become the highest ranked Nigerian junior tennis player listed among the top 400 in the world. She is now ranked 371 in the latest ranking released by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Also, the 13-year-old is considered the sixth rated U-14 female player in Africa while her profile continue to soar as she brace up to return to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) High Performance Centre n Morocco.
Quadre amassed 125 points to rank 371 in the world ranking of junior female players being the highest point any Nigerian had achieved in recent times.
However, national junior coach, Mohammed Ubale believes with more support, Quadre has the potential to become the first Nigerian to win a gram slam.
According to national junior coach, Mohammed Ubale, the performance of Quadre has continued to bring glory to the country.
“I am so excited about the feat achieved by Oyinlomo Quadre because she has been consistent since she started competing at international level. She hopes to return to the ITF High Performance Centre in Morocco and this was facilitated by the immense support of the President, Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Engr. Sani Ndanusa who agreed to offset more than 60percent of the fund she needed to return to the Centre while her family raised the remaining 40percent,” he said.
“I must admit that she is a special player with rare talent. This kind of success recorded will surely inspire more players to aim high. In any world tennis ranking, this is the best Nigeria ever achieved at any level in recent times. I must commend the NTF for their efforts at ensuring that our junior players are exposed to world class tournaments and the ranking of Quadre is the result of the support we are getting from the federation,” he added.