The Oceania Tennis Federation has announced anew the dates for the North Pacific Regional Championships at the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships, but anticipates changes in the schedule as the world still deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The North Pacific event, which was originally set for last month in Guam, will now be played from Sept. 5 to 9, according to OTF executive officer Richard Breen.
“The OTF decided to schedule the start on a Saturday and include the weekend to reduce the number of school days that the players will miss, assuming flight schedules match,” said Breen in his letter to OTF member-federations, including the CNMI.
In the North Pacific competition, the CNMI is set to battle players from the host island, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesian. Players who will make the grade in the North Pacific event will then qualify for the POJC, which has been from August to Oct. 14-23 in Fiji.
Though the dates for the two tournaments have been reset, OTF will still have to wait for the International Tennis Federation’s signal to restart junior tennis action before any competition takes place.
Another concern for OTF and its members is the availability of flights.
“This is a major worry. We shall have a better understanding of this nearer the date and will therefore take a review at the beginning of the second week of August. In the meantime, if you have any information on international flights resuming for your country, that information would be very useful. So please email me an update even if it says no current flights and no confirmed dates for resuming flights,” Breen said.
In the CNMI’s case, only United Airlines has flights to Guam (every Monday, Thursday, Saturday). No final schedule on international flights from other airlines have been announced.
With the uncertainties on international travel, OTF said it may consider moving the North Pacific event to either October or November and in the process the POJC would also be delayed (scheduled between November and December).
“December may mean less school missed, however it might mean more expensive flights so we shall have to wait and see,” Breen said.
The OTF is also looking at the possibility of teams not making it to the regional tournament because of the travel challenges so the federation will hold a discussion on giving wild card entries at the POJC based on the players’ previous results in the Fiji competition and the member-associations’ requests.
“This is new territory for all of us so there will be discussion with everyone and I really welcome your input and suggestions,” Breen said.