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Marylove Edwards, 13-year-old Nigeria’s young tennis champion


Marylove Edwards is Nigeria’s young tennis champion focused on emulating the great Serena Williams. Although many have started referring to her as the “Nigerian Serena,” the 13-year-old who is currently at the prestigious IMG Academy, in the U.S. says: “I love Serena, I love her style and I love the way she plays. But I’d love to be myself, just Marylove Edwards.’

Although tennis in Nigeria is not half as big or popular as football, Edwards feel in love with the sport. She is trained by her dad, a similar path Serena and Venus Williams took with their father. Marylove’s father constantly motivates her, highlighting the benefits of playing and excelling in tennis. Both father and daughter have been working towards that goal. Edwards started playing tennis from the age of four. Currently, she’s enrolled at the IMG Tennis Academy, founded by veteran tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, in Bradenton, Florida.

Late last year, Edwards won her first tournament in the U.S., USTA Celsius Level 6 girls’ 14 & Under tournament. Edwards is under the Temple Management Company (TMC). The company secured financing for Edwards to return to IMG Academy to begin a full session. Tuition fees at IMG Academy range from $55,950 to $79,950 a year.The founder of IMG Academy, Bollettieri said of Edwards: “Now, this young girl is very different. She is a super athlete. Very handy. Only a few can get away with that style.” Serena and Venus Williams also attended IMG Academy.


Edwards participated in the CAT/ITF West and Central African Junior Championship, where she won the Under 14. She is ranked first in Africa for Under 14 Girls. She trains sometimes in an estate in Ogba, Lagos and a stadium in surulere.

She says: “The best part of my game is my ability of never giving up. Even when I’m down in a match, I still keep fighting. Even when my opponents are older than me and they try to intimidate me, I keep fighting. I never give up.

“I want to see myself playing in the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) in the next two years. That will be a big achievement for me. I could be Nigeria’s first Grand Slam winner in history and who knows, maybe become champion of the world,” she concludes with a bright smile on her face.

All we are driving at is that we can achieve all we want to achieve, if we can catch a glimpse of our dream, keeping moving and not giving up just like MaryLove Edwards.

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