Samoa Tennis Incorporated will be sending a team of 10 players to compete in the Fiji Tennis Open in Denarau, Nadi, Fiji from 23 to 27 May 2018.
The team comprises Steffi Carruthers, Eleanor Schuster, Leon Soonalole and Vitikaras Taufao, who will be competing in the Open Men’s and Ladies senior category.
The remaining players are made up of the developing junior elite squad consisting of Crystal Christman, Penina Kamu, Mahina Tuala-Warren, Roselyn Tupuola, Gloria Meredith and Darius Carruthers who will be competing in the 14U, 15U and 16U junior categories.
In 2017, Tennis Samoa returned from the Fiji Open the most decorated team with five Gold medals.
Steffi won the ladies singles and mixed doubles; Kristen Pavitt won the Men’s Social Grade; Eleanor won the 15U Girls and Penina took out the 13U Girls. The one Silver medal was in the Ladies Open Doubles category with Steffi and Eleanor losing a hard fought out finals match.
Given these results, Tennis Samoa has high expectations that the team will return with another haul of medals with the quality and experience put together, a statement said.
According to a statement, the team disbands and the juniors return after the Fiji Open on 28 May 2018. However, Steffi, Eleanor, Penina, Leon and Vitikaras, to be joined by Marvin Soonalole, will continue their quest into the Pacific Nations Cup in Lautoka, Fiji, from 31 May – 5 June 2018.
This is an International Tennis Federation (I.T.F.) sanctioned and funded tournament for the Pacific region and will be an invaluable opportunity for senior Pacific Island players to gain I.T.F. ranking points. The Nations Cup will bring together the best in the Pacific and will be a prelude to what we will expect in tennis for the Pacific Games in 2019.
A bonus for Tennis Samoa is that Penina Kamu will take up an invitation from I.T.F. for a three months summer scholarship at the I.T.F. Training Centre in Lautoka, Fiji.
Penina will join Eleanor Schuster who is already at the I.T.F. Centre for a full year tennis and academic scholarship. Eleanor’s levy contribution for the scholarship was sponsored by Totalisator Agency Board (T.A.B.). It is Tennis Samoa’s prayer that this will be a pathway to open up a professional career opportunity for our Samoan players, the statement further said.
Tennis Samoa acknowledges the financial assistance from I.T.F. and the Oceania Tennis Federation (O.T.F.), Siva Afi Designs, the Government of Samoa (M.E.S.C.), parents and players who are contributing to the cost of this effort.
“Finally, to the Lord our God for the opportunity we receive granted through His grace,” the statement said.