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SERVING IT UP FOR THE FIRST MICRO GAMES

Guam’s young tennis stars are getting ready to make their Micro Games debut in Pohnpei with seven of the eight players on the national team playing in the games for their first time.

By Robert Balajadia

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Guam’s young tennis stars are getting ready to make their Micro Games debut in Pohnpei with seven of the eight players on the national team playing in the games for their first time.

Led by head coach Torgun Smith and assistant coach Viddy Taufao, the team is shaking off any nerves and jitters and are just focusing on playing their best. Coach Taufao is confident with the teams improvements since joining the team on May 5th.

“The consistency level had be rather low since I got here so [Torgun] and I have been focusing in on that since I got here. The level of improvement has been remarkable. In terms of expectations, we’ve got pretty high hopes for the whole team in both the team and individual events,” stated coach Taufo.

Charlie and Joshua go against Brian Tuncap and John in doubles practice. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Charles Oliver and Joshua Cepeda go against Brian Tuncap Jr. and Anthony John in doubles practice. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

2014 Tennis Micro Games Roster

Men’s

Joshua Cepeda

Brian Tuncap Jr.

Anthony John

Charles Oliver

Women’s

Katie Lai

Camdyn Nadler

Charlayne Espinosa

Nadine Del Carmen

Conditioning for the Micro Games has been as intense as their practices on court in the blistering sun from twice a day, four days a week, which usually runs for two hours with very little breaks. Then the team hits match practice all weekend. Outside of that, the team also gets into extra conditioning activities to get the extra boost of cardio since they will be playing in the heat in Pohnpei.

IMG_5546“Our coach doesn’t want us to lose physically so that’s why we train very hard. We do tennis two times a day and outside of that we do Cross Fit and Insanity every day,” stated Tuncap Jr.

 

 

 

“We schedule our practices around the hottest time of the day to get ready for Pohnpei,” said Taufao.

Each member of the team will be competing in the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events and each member is expected to do well.

Tuncap Jr. is one of the teams strongest competitors and he is still in high school attending Father Duenas. On the female side, Katie Lai is also considered one of the teams strongest players and the two stars share a similar trait, which is believing they will perform better in the singles portion.

“I feel my stamina has improved so much and the training coaches have been giving us are really good so I’m going to feel most comfortable playing singles,” said Tuncap Jr.

“I think I’m a little more comfortable playing in the singles, but I am excited for the doubles and mixed doubles because you don’t normally get to play in mixed doubles,” said Lai.

Camdyn N and Nadine Del Carmen working doubles. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Camdyn Nadler and Nadine Del Carmen working doubles. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Charles Oliver is the only one on the team who has Micro Games experience having competed on the 2006 team and Oliver will be looking to do damage in the doubles portion of the matches after having good practice outings .

Nadine Del Carmen missed her last year of Tennis at St. John’s due to a knee injury, but she has been playing well since starting up again in January having competed in two tournaments.

Another strong member of the men’s team is one of the youngest members of the team in Joshua Cepeda, who will be looked upon to shine in the singles tourney as well.

Though it’s their first time, the team is feeling way more excited than nervous and coach Torgun and Taufao are to thank.

“We addressed early on that we will be working on their mental game and how to get around being nervous and get the butterflies out of their system. We worked a lot on them developing good habits,” said Taufao.

IMG_5532“There’s a little bit of nerves, but we’ve all be training for this. If we just stay in control and stay focused we will play our best. One thing our coaches have been stressing is focus and just play each point and get our mind into the game,” said Lai.

 

 

Tennis will be looking to make a clean sweep in all the events and if one thing’s for sure, they are physically and emotionally ready.

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