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‘Game On’ for the 2024 OTF Pacific Nations Cup

Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga serves opening ball

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It was ‘Game On’ for top tennis players from 11 Pacific island countries and territories yesterday morning, as the 2024 Oceania Tennis Federation (OTF) Pacific Nations Cup Tournament served off at the Tafuna tennis courts.

Day 1 began with the grand opening ceremony where the participating teams filed onto the courts in their colorful uniforms.

The 11 countries and territories represented in the 2024 OTF Pacific Nations Cup Tournament are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

All participating countries/ territories are fielding three-member men’s teams while only seven have entered women’s teams.

American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Tahiti and Tonga do not have women’s team competing.

According to the president of the American Samoa Tennis Association (ASTA) Florence Wasko, they do not have enough adult female players as most have relocated to the mainland for either schooling, work or the military.

She said most of their current female players are juniors and in order for them to compete in the Pacific Nations Cup, they must be 14 years or over and have exceptional playing skills to compete with the elite players from the Pacific region.

The American Samoa men’s team comprises Muka Godinet, Toa Godinet and Aifili Tamasoalii.

Hosted by ASTA, the tournament was officially opened by Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga who welcomed the visiting teams and reminded them that the Pacific was one family and to strive to be the best they can be on and off the courts.

The governor then wowed everyone present with his tennis skills by executing a spectacular ace to get the tournament underway.

ASTA President Florence Wasko, who is also an OTF Board member, revealed that the tournament games will be run in a Davis Cup format which means all matches are the best of three tie-break sets.

Each Davis Cup tie consists of five rubbers or matches, with the winner being the country which wins three or more of the five matches.

The finals follow a different format, with ties played as a best of three rubbers; two singles and one doubles.

Tournament action will continue tomorrow through the weekend including Sunday, until the final day on Monday next week.

The ASTA president acknowledged with thanks the generous sponsorship of major sponsors Bluesky, IBC and GHC Reid- Oloa O Leala who is providing Vaimalu, Coca Cola, Powerade and a variety of other beverages for the thirsty participants.

In other tennis news, three local junior players have been selected to team up with other elite players from the Pacific and represent Oceania at the Australian Junior Championship slated for June 16-26.

They are Aifili Tamasoalii, Herman Thomsen and Joelei Ioane. This is the second time Joelei Ioane has been selected to compete in this international tournament.

The three will join six other junior players next month to compete in the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships to be held in Lautoka, Fiji.

The other six junior players gearing up for the tournament in Fiji include Tydeus Asalele, Jedi Leasau, Joella Ioane, Aitulagi Godinet, Pale Leasau and Alexandria Amor.