Mr Ehi Henshaw-Aigbekaen, the father of Nigerian-French tennis star, Calvin Hemery said on Sunday that his son was old enough to make a decision on his tennis career following his love for Nigeria and France.
The 22-year-old tennis player is expected to make a very crucial decision in his young career –choosing between his mother’s country France and his father’s country Nigeria, which to represent at international competitions.
Hemery, born in Les Lilas France, was the toast of tennis fans at the just concluded GSL Open in Abuja which he won following a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Christopher Diaz-Figueroa of Guatemala.
But Henshaw-Aigbekaen said in spite the love expressed by Nigerians for his son, he would still need to make a decision of which country to represent at international competitions like the Olympics.
“France has done so much for my son (Calvin Hemery); I will not stand in his way if he decides to stick with the French.
“I am a Nigerian and he is loved by Nigerians, but you have to consider what both countries are bringing to the table in terms of support for him.
“As it stands, 90 per cent of his support and sponsors come from France, while 10 per cent come from Nigeria; you can see what I mean.
“Support and sponsorship are the keys to athletes’ development and sustainability,’’ Henshaw-Aigbekaen said.
He pointed out that the support Hemrey got from the likes of Gael Sebastien Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Novak Djokovic and other world tennis stars was highly commendable.
Henshaw-Aigbekaen noted that the support had helped his son attend ITF tournaments and grand slams around the world.
“The GSL Open which he won in Abuja will boost his Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) points and qualify him for other major championships.
“The support has seen my son climb to 199 position in the world in the past but currently on 295,’’ he added.He urged Nigerian companies to emulate their foreign counterparts in the drive to develop sports in Nigeria by nurturing and sponsoring athletes to international competitions.
This, he said would help to expose and encourage them to declare loyalty (allegiance) to a particular country.