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AC Milan legend, Paolo Maldini, set for ATP tennis debut

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AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini is to mark his 49th birthday later this month by making his professional tennis debut at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Milan.

The former Italy defender has earned a wild card for the Aspria Tennis Cup at the Aspria Harbour Club of Milan, where he will partner his coach and former professional Stefano Landonio, 45, in the doubles.

The pair earned entry at a qualifying event and they will make their debut on June 26 with Landonio confirming that Maldini has got the talent on the court that he possessed on the football field.

“Paolo’s gifted with a good serve in addition to some decent shots,” he told the Tennis Italiano website. “He’s also improving his volleys and while he may not be catching the eye in any particular part of his game, he does not have any weaknesses either.”

Landonio also said that Maldini could have had a promising career in tennis, had he taken the game up earlier.

“Since he only started playing five or six years ago, there are some deficits in terms of technique,” he said. “If he’d started working on his technique earlier, then who knows?

“Certainly in view of his background, he’s got extraordinary mental and physical strength. Psychologically, he never suffers in the slightest in delicate situations — he’s really strong.”

Maldini won 26 trophies for Milan — including five European Cups — and played in a record 647 Serie A fixtures before retiring in 2009, reports ESPN.

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JUST IN: Kano Pillars’ defender, Chinedu Udoji, is dead

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Kano Pillars defender, Chinedu Udoji, is dead

The erstwhile Enyimba of Aba skipper was reportedly involved in a ghastly motor accident in Kano on Sunday night.

The central defender starred in Pillar’s 1-1 draw against Enyinba at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

Udoji, 28, is survived by his wife and children.

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Top athletes snub C’Wealth Games

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  • AFN battles to get best available

  …may release team list today

 

There are strong indications that some of the country’s top athletes might snub the forthcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15. Reports have it that red-hot Divine Oduduru and Tobiloba Amusan are two major doubts due to engagement with their various schools in the USA.

Investigation by New Telegraph also revealed that more of these athletes had decided to concentrate on winning medals for their various schools. Some of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity with our correspondent said they would have loved to be part of the Games but it’s out of the calendar of the international athletics body. One of the athletes said: “I am on scholarship here and my school has already made it clear that the Commonwealth Games is not part of the International Association of Athletics Federations calendar.”

“It is the dream of every athlete to represent his or her country and I don’t want to be an exception, hopefully everything will be resolved soon” Another athlete, who also expressed her disappointment, said going to Australia would be a dream come true, but it was beyond her powers. According to the athletes, the Athletic Federation of Nigeria has a lot to do in convincing their schools to release them for the Games.

Meanwhile, the Technical Director of the AFN, Sunday Adeleye, has assured that the best legs will represent the country in Gold Coast. While expressing his happiness on the performance of the team at the just concluded trials in Abuja, Adeleye said the AFN was monitoring all the athletes doing well both internationally and locally. He said: “I don’t want to start thinking about who might be available or not; all we are doing now is to assemble the best athletes to represent the country. “The fact is we have to look at the athletes on the list and then follow up with their schools and clubs because we are aware of their importance to their schools too.

“We have noticed some top athletes during the trials and I am happy with what we were able to achieve during the three days. “On Monday (today), the final list for Australia will likely be out and the whole world can see who finally makes the team.”

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NTF promises to develop wheelchair tennis

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Nigeria Tennis Federation President, Dayo Akindoju, has assured the growth of the game in Nigeria. In the wake of outburst by a player that he turned his back on wheelchair tennis, following Nigeria’s inability to attend the ongoing African qualifiers in Kenya, Akindoju said there was no iota of truth in that stressing that the complaint of the player was misplaced.

Last week, an aggrieved wheelchair tennis player alleged the president had abandoned them since he assumed office last June. “I have always meant well for the game and it’s unfortunate that the player who accused me has not been following the trend since I became president of the tennis federation,”Akindoju said, in response to the report.

“For example, he should know that after the elections, I invited the secretary of the wheelchair tennis department of the NTF and two of their representatives to Abuja and the only item on the agenda of that meeting was how to take wheelchair tennis to the next level.

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