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Fiji Time: 1:06 PM on Friday 13 December
Pacific tennis youth gain big game experience
Friday, December 13, 2013
Update: 11:52AM THE Pacific has no history of success in the sport of tennis, but a group of talented young players from across the region are in Australia looking to raise standards.
In the lead up to the Australian Open next month, six Pacific juniors are gaining valuable exposure by competing in a number of local tournaments in Melbourne.
Their tour is part of a development program run by the International Tennis Federation and financed by the Grand Slam Fund.
“This helps get more exposure for nations worldwide to play junior events and have more experience for match play situations,” said Darran Wrighton, the Pacific Oceania Development officer with the International Tennis Federation.
Fijian junior Mulan Kamoe, who picked up tennis at a very young age told Australia Network the experience has been priceless.
“It’s a big opportunity because I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said.
The players were selected based on their performance at the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships earlier this year.
In Melbourne, they’ve been pitting their skills against their local counterparts in team and individual tournaments.
“What Australia is lucky with is we have a lot of players here,” said David Hearne from Tennis Australia, which is also supporting the program.
“So we’re trying to look at ways we can give the opportunity to the kids from the Pacific come here and play some of our players, to give them those competitive opportunities”
Tahitian junior talent, Christopher Shan, has set high aims for himself.
“I’d like to be the best I can, and win the Oceania tournament,” said Shan.
Others, meanwhile, are inspired to pursue a career in tennis.
“I’d really really like to be a professional, that’s like my dream,” Ayana Rengiil, a junior player from Palau, said.
The Pacific may not have any players in the men’s and women’s top 100.
But coaches say the potential is there for the juniors to make a breakthrough in the future.
“The Pacific islanders have the work ethic required for improving their junior rankings,” Darran Wrighton from the International Tennis Federation said.
“They have the athletic ability, and when it comes for a shot for shot basis, they’re as good as their Australian and New Zealand counterparts.”
Those qualities that may see them competing at the Australian Open one day.
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Fiji Tennis marks World Day Event
Monday, March 04, 2013
THE World Tennis Day Celebrations in Suva, Nadi and Lautoka were hailed as a success by International Tennis Federation Pacific Oceania Development Officer Gene Ridgway.
In Lautoka, 71 players participated in the event at the Regional Tennis Centre. Ridgway said the ITF coaches and players assisted the participants.
He said they offered adult and junior tennis lessons.
“The World Tennis Day celebrations were a great success,” Ridgway said.
“The RTC coaches and players were on hand to serve, rally, and score with everyone and anyone. The day consisted of fun and free play on all of the different sized development courts and the normal full size courts.
“We used soft balls and short racquets and competition balls and full size racquets.
“The ITF coaches offered adult and junior lessons all morning.
“There was Cardio Tennis with music and movement. The day finished with light refreshments. There was an exhibition match between RTC players Tito Bira from Kiribati and Junior Benjamin from the Solomon Islands.”
Fiji was one of the first nations to hold the World Tennis Day celebrations.