Teammates instantly became rivals as Davis Cuppers represented their respective island nations in the recent Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022.
While they treat each other as brothers, Pacific Oceania’s Davis Cup players were essentially every man for himself in the tennis competition that was held at the American Memorial Park and Pacific Islands Club Saipan tennis courts from June 16 to 24.
All four—the CNMI’s Colin Sinclair, Papua New Guinea’s Matthew Stubbings, Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy, and Cook Islands’ Brett Baudinet—played in the 11th staging of the Games in the CNMI with homegrown tennis hero and No. 1 seed Sinclair eventually winning the gold medal in the men’s singles, men’s doubles, and men’s team event.
Before the start of the tennis competition, Baudinet said he’s excited to challenge the region’s best on the court in the Mini Games only months removed after they suited up together against Estonia in Group II of Davis Cup competition in Tallinn, Estonia.
“I’m excited to meet and play with my teammates in the Davis Cup. They’re all here and we’re excited to get out there and play against our teammates. I’m excited I heard there’s a strong turnout this year. Always coming into these Games we’re hoping for a strong draw. It makes it more exciting and it makes it more challenging and therefore more fun,” the longest tenured Davis Cup player in the world said.
For Mainguy, he thought it’s pretty cool to see his Davis Cup teammates on the other side of the net for a change.
“We trained a lot together and the Mini Games is probably the only moment we can compete against each other. It’s the Games and it’s different in practice so this time it’s going to be fun. I think all of us try to want to beat each other and I know for a fact that me and Matthew can’t wait to come and get Colin, he’s No. 1 here. We’re very motivated to try and get Colin from the top spot.”
Stubbings, the No. 2 seed in the men’s singles, said it’s always fun to play against his Davis Cup teammates.
“We spent a fair amount of time at the start of the year in Estonia. We’re a good tight knit team. But when you’re here for your country it’s a whole kind of feeling. You put on your country’s colors and you’re obviously proud of representing your country. You’re mates off court but when you get into the court in your countries’ colors it’s all war, it’s a little bit of fun competition,” he said.
Sinclair, for his part, said he’ll just be taking it one game at a time as he figures to be in medal contention in all four divisions of the tennis competition in the Games—men’s team, men’s doubles, mixed doubles, and singles.
That strategy obviously worked as Sinclar won the aforementioned three gold medals in the Mini Games. He struck first in Day 3 of the tennis competition last June 18 when he teamed up with Robbie Schorr, Colin Ramsay, and Bobby Cruz to win the team event.
He then cemented his dominance by winning back-to-back finals on the last day of the tennis competition last June 24.
Sinclair first repulsed Stubbings in the men’s singles finals, 6-0, 6-1.
A few hours later, the ITF Tour veteran teamed up with Schorr to win the men’s doubles against Clement and Aymeric Mara, 7-5, 7-5. Sinclair then won a bronze after playing with Isabel Herras in the mixed doubles to cap his Mini Games campaign.