Melissa Ifidzhen; Russian-born Nigerian tennis star. Ifidzhen made her debut for Nigeria at the ITF/CAT African U-18 Championship held at Cairo, Egypt in April 2015. Ifidzhen was born in 1999 of Nigerian father and a Russian mother. She started tennis at the age of five. As a member of the Russian national U-12 team she won the European Championship in 2010. She was also the Russian champion for the U-12 in 2010. She was a finalist at the Argayon Cup U-16 Belgium, and the champion in the singles and doubles of the Hitec Bouneweg Junior Open U-14.

Late in 2014, she reached the final in both the singles and doubles of the Steinfort Tennis Europe Junior Open U16 held in Luxemburg. In the same year she was a finalist in the singles of the Governor Cup U-16 in Russia, while she bagged gold in the doubles event. Ifidzhen was also a finalist at the Malta ITF U-18 world ranking tournament and also reached the semi-final in the doubles event of the Ozerov Cup held in Russia. Ifidzhen’s profile is significant because it was the type of profile that superstars like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova post as junior players.


Tribune March 30, 2015

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer