Carol returns to India, to train in Morocco

Carol Lee, seen here competing in last year’s ITF Juniors tournament on Saipan, will be returning to India next week to represent Pacific Oceania in the 2017 Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania Qualifying Zone. (Contributed Photo)

The CNMI’s Carol Lee is heading to India this weekend, while she will be going to Morocco next month as she seeks for more milestones in her blossoming junior tennis career.

Lee will return to New Delhi to suit up for the Pacific Oceania Team in the 2017 Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania Qualifying Zone that will start next week at the R.K Khanna Tennis Stadium. Lee’s team is one of the 16 squads that will vie for the four slots (semifinalists in the zone) to the 2017 Junior Fed Cup World Group Finals that will be played in Budapest, Hungary in September.

Lee and her teammates Naia Guitton of Tahiti and Eleanor Schuster of Samoa are a long shot for the qualifying berths in the World Group Finals, but the Commonwealth bet will try her best to help Pacific Oceania finish in the Top 10.

“My goal in the Fed Cup is to place in the Top 10 because I don’t want to go through the pre-qualifying tournament again,” said Lee, who is now in Fiji at the ITF-OTF Regional Training Facility.

Last year, when she debuted for Pacific Oceania, Lee, Guitton and Fiji’s Vienna Kumar were ranked No. 15 out of the 16 teams that joined the zone qualifier, which was also held in India. After failing to make the grade in the 2016 competition, Lee and company were forced to play in the pre-qualifying contest, which took place last month in New Delhi with Pacific Oceania beating Sri Lanka in the finals.

Once she completes her tour of duty with Pacific Oceania in the Fed Cup, Lee will return to Fiji to continue training before she heads to Morocco late next month.

She will also undergo rigorous training sessions in Morocco, where the only other ITF training facility is located. She will also compete in three high-level ITF Juniors tournament there.

“I will miss the Guam and the CNMI ITF Juniors competitions this year and instead I will go to Morocco to challenge higher-ranked players,” the 15-year-old said.

In Morocco, Lee will first see action in the Mediterranée Avenir (May 1 to 6), a Grade 1 event and the second-highest level tournament in the ITF Juniors Circuit behind the Junior Grand Slam (A). Grade 1 events offer 150 rankings points to singles champion, 100 to runner-up, 80 to the semifinalists, 60 to quarterfinalists, 30 to losers in the Round of 16, and 20 to losers in Round of 32.

Next up for the Commonwealth player is the ITF/CAT North African Circuit that will run on May 8 to 13. It is a Grade 3 tournament that offers ranking points as high as 60 (champion) and at least 10 (losers in Round of 32). For her final tournament in the North African country, Lee will be participating in the RUC Tennis Junior Open—a Grade 4 competition.

“These ITF Juniors tournaments are very good opportunities for me to earn more ranking points. I will do my best to win my singles matches and learn from higher-ranked players,” said Lee, who is currently ranked No. 345 in the world—just four notches down from her best ranking.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for 16 years. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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