Nigerian Tennis Prodigy, Marylove Edwards, opened her first U.S. account on a winning note by dispatching her opponents with ease to win the USTA Celsius Level 6 girls’ 14 & Under tournament.
This she achieved barely 20 days after moving to the world-renowned, IMG Tennis Academy founded by veteran tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri, in Bradenton, Florida.
She defeated her opponent, Nina Sidhu, in two straight sets with an emphatic 6-0, 6-1 win to claim her first trophy on U.S. soil.
The final was the climax of a competition she dominated winning all her matches convincingly in two sets apiece.
On the way to the final, Marylove defeated Anastasiia Pestereva in the round of sixteen in two straight sets of 6-3, 6-2. She followed up on her remarkable form beating Nicole Ciemark in a 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinal before ensuring her place in the final with a 6-2, 6-0 defeat of Stella Rundova.
With support from her Lagos-based pan-African talent agency, Temple Management Company, TMC, the twelve-year-old has been on a roll.
The organisation focuses on harnessing and marketing creatively endowed individuals and has been propelling the career of the Nigerian sensation.
After a one-week training stint at the IMG Academy in April, Marylove returned to Nigeria to shock keen observers of the Nigerian Tennis circuit when she emerged as the first junior to make it to the finals of the CBN Women Seniors.
On close observation, IMG founder, Bolletieri, singled out Marylove for her unique double-fisted style. His words, “Now this young girl is very different: super athlete. Very handy. Only a few can get away with that style.”
Committed to her development, TMC was able to secure financing to help the starlet return to IMG Academy to begin a full academic session in September at the prestigious tennis intuition which has produced the likes of the Serena and Venus Williams, Andre Agassi and Monica Seles among others.
Speaking from her IMG Academy base, Marylove expressed her excitement at her new achievement.
“I have been training very hard since I started at IMG and was so happy to win my first trophy,” she said.
Marylove Edwards plays tennis with so much power that people are now calling her the Nigerian Serena Williams. The 13-year-old sat down with BBC to discuss her career and her hopes.
She was introduced to tennis by her father at the age of 2 and started playing when she was 4. Marylove hopes to play in the WTA in 2 years, and to one day be the first Nigerian to win a grand slam, and then become a world champion.
Watch Marylove speak below: