The CNMI’s Carol Lee is looking sharp and ready for battle in the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa.
“My preparations for the Games are going well. I did a training block for two weeks after I came back from Belgium. I am working hard on the court and in the gym,” said Lee, who will be leading the CNMI Women’s National Tennis Team that also has Isabel Heras, Tania Tan, and Malika Miyawaki.
Lee is still in Fiji attending the International Tennis Federation Training Center in Lautoka. She also competed in a J4 (Grade 4) World ITF Juniors event there and swept the doubles and singles championships of the tournament to match her highest ranking (world No. 114).
The 17-year-old will be in Fiji until Friday and will use the remaining days to train for the Pacific Games, which will have its opening ceremonies this Sunday and regular competition on Monday.
“I’m polishing up a few things before we head to Apia on Friday to meet the team,” said Lee.
Before returning to the training facility in Fiji, the CNMI bet played in a series of high-level tournaments in Belgium and Italy and Lee believes these competitions will help her for the tough battles in Samoa.
“My trip to Italy and Belgium was really good. I am so thankful to the ITF for all the opportunities they have given me to compete against some of the best players in the world,” said Lee.
With her rich experience in the World ITF Juniors events and several victories in the ranking tournaments, Lee acknowledged that her teammates and coach (Jeff Race) are expecting a lot from here.
“I am always honored to represent CNMI and being a part of the team makes me feel less pressure. I will do my best to perform well. I always have high expectations of myself and I know coach Jeff also has high expectations from me,” said the four-time Northern Marianas Sports Association/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Female Student Athlete of the Year awardee.
As for her competitors, Lee anticipates to meet a couple of her teammates with the Pacific Oceania Junior and Senior Fed Cup squads. One of them is Pacific’s No. 1 player and Papua New Guinea flagbearer Abigail Tere-Apisah. Samoa’s Steffi Carruthers, PNG’s Violet Apisah, and Lee’s fellow junior players Eleanor Schuster of Samoa, Saoirse Breen of Fiji, and Zorika Morgan of the Solomon Islands are the other members of the Pacific Oceania Fed Cup teams that will see action in the Pacific Games.
“I’m a bit nervous to compete against them because I look up to them so much. I’ve learned a lot from them on our Fed Cup ties. I’m looking forward to the challenge though. The level of competition will be good as there are good players from all over the region competing,” Lee said.