17 Sep Ones To Watch Series: Mary-Love Edwards
Marylove Edwards is only 9 years old but she’s already making some major noise. This barely 4 feet tall Nigeria phenom wowed the spectators after she defeated her 12-year-old opponent at the finals of the CBN Under 12 Junior Tennis Championships held at Lagos Lawn Tennis Club this past March (she was 8 years old at the time).
Edwards has the makings of a champion, no doubt. While her serve has still yet to develop considering her stature, her return game on the other hand is something to write home about. It’s spectacular! This youngster can chase every ball like a hungry lioness on a mission. She hits the ball with aggression and power. She’s just fearless on the court. She’s that good!
If you’re that brilliant, people will notice. In Marylove’s case, the president of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Sam Egbuchunam, noticed. He awarded her with a lifetime membership of the esteemed club, the very same club that hosted tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, two super successful African-American siblings, when they visited Africa during the tennis off-season last year. Serena, who owns 17 Grand Slams, is the reigning French Open and US Open champ. Venus is a 7-time Grand Slam champion.
Even the director of Communications of the CBN, Ogochukwu Okoroafor, pledged the bank’s commitment to fully nurture the youngster’s talent while Engr Sani Ndanusa, the president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) and NOC president, made a promise on behalf of the NTF to make her a world-class star.
Just like her idol Serena, whose father introduced her and Venus to the game, Marylove too has her dad, Peter Edwards, to thank. He introduced her to tennis when she was just over a year old and has been coaching her ever since.