CNMI junior player Carol Lee left the International Tennis Federation/Oceania Tennis Federation training center in Fiji for good after three fruitful years at the regional facility.
“It has been a pleasure and honor to train in Fiji for three years. I improved a lot since I took the scholarship offer when I was 15. I learned not only about tennis, but also about the responsibilities of living on my own and working with other people I consider my second family,” Lee said.
The 17-year-old received an invite to train and study at the regional facility in 2017 after dominating the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships. Lee is the lone player in the Pacific to have won the U12, U14, and U16 division titles in the POJC, which featured 20 nations in the region.
While training in Fiji, Lee also managed to compete in Juniors ITF tournaments in Pacific Oceania, Australia, U.S., Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as she made it to as high as No. 114 in the world rankings and won numerous events.
“I am so thankful to all the coaches, staff, players, and teachers that I will miss in Fiji. I would also like to say a big thank you to the ITF for helping me achieve my tennis and personal goals every year,” said Lee, who is on her final year with the Juniors ITF, as she will turn 18 this December.
The four-time Northern Marianas Sports Association/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Female Student Athlete of the Year added that leaving Saipan and her family to train in Fiji was one of the toughest decisions she made and she’s glad she took the gamble.
“I was scared when I left home. I took the risk for a better future in tennis and school and I am not regretting the choice I made. I made a lot of accomplishments through my training in Fiji and because of all the people who helped me in this journey,” said Lee, who is now in Korea where she competed in a national event and is also awaiting two more Juniors ITF tournaments.
The CNMI tennis player added that she will be forever grateful to OTF and ITF for all the opportunities they gave her. She also acknowledged the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association for paving the way for her stay at the regional facility in Fiji.