The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis and is the world’s largest annual international team competition in the sport, with more than 200 nations and is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). It is described by the organizers as the “World Cup of Tennis” and the winners are referred to as the World Champion team.
Davis Cup Teams are governed by their national governing bodies, who select players. The Nigeria Davis Cup team is governed by the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF). Membership on a country’s Davis Cup Team is an elite appointment, as the teams consist of the top 4-5 players from each country. In Nigeria, Davis Cup Team members are selected by Nigeria’s Davis Cup non-playing captain. This position is filled by a leading member of the Nigerian Tennis Federation. The current Davis Cup non-playing captain is Mr. Rotimi Akinloye. Rotimi currently serves as the Technical Director for the Nigerian Tennis Federation and has over 26 years’ experience in elite level tennis competition and instruction. He has served in multiple roles for the NTF: Davis Cup Non-Playing Captain, Development Officer, National Team Coach and Technical Director.
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Technical Director Rotimi Akinloye says “I rely on the knowledge I have gained in playing, coaching, and administering elite tennis to determine the best players to represent Nigeria. I use multiple factors when selecting players to the Davis Cup Team: individual tennis rankings, results in elite-level tennis competitions, and national and international success in tennis. I review matches in person and on film to provide the background to determine who the best players in our nation are to compete in the Davis Cup.” Rotimi also pointed out that the NTF is committed to selecting players whose current results and/or previous major event results justify their inclusion in the Davis Cup team.
The competition’s non-playing captain assesses the entire country when deciding who will compete on the international stage for Nigeria. Of the thousands of individuals who play tennis in Nigeria, only a select few (4-5 each year) will achieve this distinction. The prestigious ITF event, and one of the cornerstones of the tennis calendar, gives tennis professionals the chance to represent their country in an otherwise individual sport.
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