The Nigerian Communications Commission 2017 Tennis League opener at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday and Sunday will further highlight the emerging rivalry between Joseph Imeh of Team Muller and Abdulmumuni Babalola of Team Civil Defence, organisers have said. Former national champion Babalola and fast-rising Imeh met in the CBN Senior Open final in June with the ‘veteran’ player winning 6-3, 6-4 in a match Imeh, playing his first ever senior final, failed to find the form that took him to the championship match. Imeh said, “I think it is going to be different this time round. The team championship is usually different for me because I tend to play my best game. Last year I beat Sylvester Emmanuel in Kaduna and won all my singles matches. “However, I know Babalola is in very good form and has a lot of experience as a Davis Cup player… we shall see.” Team Civil Defence, winners of the 2015 edition also have in their ranks Clifford Enosoregbe, another former national No.1 who has rediscovered his form and Christie Agugbom, the leading female player in Nigeria, who will be seeking to avenge her loss to Ronke Akingbade at the CBN Senior Open. The tie will feature two men’s singles matches with reverses, one ladies’ singles, one men’s doubles and a mixed doubles. The league, the first of its kind in Africa, is offering a consolidated prize money of N23m with the champion team bagging N7m. It will also take topflight tennis to 12 cities in Nigeria from 10 last year. Sports minister Solomon Dalung and the Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, are expected to watch the championship.