The CNMI’s Tania Tan, Carol Lee, and Ken Song left Saipan last Wednesday to compete in the 2015 14/U Australian Championships that will kick off this Saturday at Melbourne Park.
The three Commonwealth junior tennis players are part of the Pacific GSDF Touring Team. Grand Slam Development Fund, according to the International Tennis Federation website, is a program that selects talented players from developing tennis nations and sends them to higher-level events outside their region. ITF added that “the touring team is an integral part of the development program and aims to facilitate the transition of talented players through regional and international junior competitions and where possible on to the professional ranks.”
Tan and company will be joined later in Melbourne by Robbie Schorr, Conatsu Kaga, and coach Jeff Race. Other members of the elite group are Tahiti’s Jeremy Guines and Naia Guitton. Schorr is expected to leave Saipan this weekend, while Kaga will head to Australia next week with Race, as she will be playing in the U12 age group competition.
The CNMI players will be suiting up in the Land Down Under tournament after a successful campaign in the opening week of the 7th Tan Holdings Tennis Classic.
Schorr won the boys U14 singles crown against Song and together they prevailed in the doubles event. Lee topped the co-ed U18 singles, while Tan bagged the girls U16 doubles tiara with Isabel Heras and finished runner-up to the latter. Kaga clinched the girls U14 doubles title with Miyawaki and placed second in the singles against her doubles teammate.
Meanwhile, this weekend’s tournament will have a full 64-player draw in both the girls and boys singles divisions.
The draws and seeded player are unavailable at press time, but the tournament website indicated that participants will include the winners in the Victorian, New South Wales, and Queensland State Championships and qualifiers from Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT, Tasmania, and Northern Territory. Players from Japan and China are also entered in the tournament.
Besides the singles tournament in Australia, the CNMI players-led group will also compete in a team tournament next week.