The Fifth Oceania Tennis Championships officially opened at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, yesterday.
Nine countries have travelled from around the region to host nation Samoa for the regional competition. They include Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Tahiti-nui and Vanuatu.
The championship is a four-day competition with teams competing in the men’s and women’s divisions. The Oceania Championships was initiated by New Caledonia Tennis and implemented by the Oceania Tennis Federation.
Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio welcomed the guests in his keynote address.
“I understand that the concept of this championship was to provide high level competitive tennis in the Pacific for Pacific players in the years where there was no Pacific Games.
“It was also to involve all Oceania nations including Australia and New Zealand.
“The best players of the Region can play against each other with the intention to invite Australia and New Zealand to make the event competitively stronger compared to the Pacific Games.
“This is the second international tennis event this year that the Government has been invited by Tennis Samoa to open. The first was the East Pacific Junior Qualifiers last April,” he said.
Loau said tennis is a sport that required refined technical skills, precise accuracy, mental toughness and physical stamina, which he added could go past three hours.
“It is an individual sport, lonely before seas of spectators’ eyes and mistakes or errors are your own and no one else. But it is about doing your best, that is the mark of a player’s true character and not to say to yourself that your best was not good enough.
“It is then that you can be able to look forward to fight another day. As for us spectators, we get to look forward to the enjoyment of watching spectacular tennis matches,” he added.
The major sponsor for the four-day tournament in Samoa is Invest Samoa.