Tennis tryouts down to 3 women

Posted on Apr 07 2022

The women’s tryouts for the last two slots for the CNMI National Tennis Team for this year’s Pacific Mini Games is now down to just three players.

This, after national coach Jeff Race said that two candidates—Tania Tan and Malika Miyawaki—begged off from the tryouts for different reasons. Race said Tan will be competing in track and field in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, while Miyawaki is busy with her studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia,

“Malika has been very busy with her studies so she hasn’t had time to adequately train. She is very keen to be a part of the Games though and will be the venue manager at the American Memorial Park tennis courts,” he said.

As for Tan, the Fordham University junior said she wants to focus more on track. She also recently was named to the 10-member CNMI National Triathlon Team for the Mini Games.

“Good luck. But you guys don’t need my luck because you have Colin Sinclair,” was Tan’s message to the national tennis team.

The CNMI national tennis coach said Tan has his blessing to concentrate on track and beg off from the tryouts.

“She’s focusing on track and I fully support her. She’s a vastly improved runner over three years ago and she will be very competitive in that.”

Race actually predicted Tan’s decision to beg off from tennis a couple of months earlier in an interview with Saipan Tribune.

“There’s a situation she might be so competitive now. She knew she’ll just be mildly competitive in tennis and only mildly competitive in track and field in 2019. If she feels like she’ll be very competitive in track and field, I can totally see her saying ‘coach, I would really love to play tennis, but I think it’ll be better for me not to be competing in this event and husband my energy in track and field. You have other good players who are playing tennis.’ And I will just totally support her in that,” he said.

So, it’s now down to three players duking out for the last three slots with Miyawaki and Tan pulling out of the tryouts.

“Asia Raulerson, Hye Jin Elliott, and Serin Chung will have a round-robin competition where everybody will play everybody. We can do that in a few days [in May] and we’ll know who our next two players are,” said Race.

As for the two already slotted women’s players, Race said Carol Lee has done a lot of growing since the 2019 Mini Games in Samoa where he and Sinclair won the mixed doubles gold.

“Carol was a real quiet person. She was very nice and quiet and everything. But I think you’re going to see Carol taking a bigger leadership role. She’s playing No. 1 in her team in one of the top schools in the nation. She’s probably developing some leadership skills that will help this team win,” Race said of the Georgia Tech standout.

As for Isabel Herras, the many time NMSA Coach of the Year and Sports Hall of Famer said the Metropolitan State University of Denver varsity player is an excellent doubles player and will form a very dangerous team with Lee.

“Her record this year is solid. She’s won her last four doubles matches in a row. She’s a good singles player but she’s such a very good doubles player because she volleys very well and her returns are really good. Those are the two main things you need in doubles. I think she and Carol, who’s undefeated in doubles, will be a very, very tough doubles team. I say that even if the girls that finished ahead of them in the last Games are coming. I think they’ll be in an equal footing or much closer to it.”

Earlier, the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association president named Sinclair, Samoa veteran Robbie Schorr, Bobby Cruz, and Colin Ramsey to the men’s team for the Mini Games, which is set in the CNMI from June 17 to 25 this year.

For tennis, 128 players are so far booked. The venue for tennis are the American Memorial Park tennis courts in Garapan and the Pacific Islands Club Saipan tennis courts in San Antonio.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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