Future Tennis Stars on Show at Micronesian Games

Walking across the newly renovated PNI Tennis Courts, Reynaldo Garcia is a relaxed, happy and smiling man.

Garcia, a Junior tennis coach in Pohnpei, has a new title - the Competition Manager for Tennis at the eighth Micronesian Games.

With the tennis matches starting off on Monday July 21, Garcia is set for a frantic few days, as the 60 players start trickling into the beautiful island of Pohnpei with one thing firmly on their minds - gold.

Although coy about giving out names, Garcia did have a few predictions for the upcoming competition.

"In my opinion, the Guam men have a powerhouse team. Most of their junior champions were seeded first," he said.

However, ever the patriot, Ray is quick to follow this comment up with another, one firmly in support of the home team. 

"But never discount Pohnpei's mens team, they're the dark horse" he adds. The very secretive Garcia even goes so far as to single out a player, which he calls the 'Chop Suey Man'.

Despite what Garcia labels "an orthodox approach", he puts him firmly in the mix for medals.

"He's a surprise package. He's beaten some good players in the past" Garcia adds, still keeping his anonimity, preferring to let their results do the talking. 

However, it's not just the men dominating the tennis, Garcia reveals Pohnpei has some women that might give the men a run for their money.

"We have some good, disciplined players. Some of the ladies have a good chance of landing in the medals," Garcia explains. 

All in all it seems Pohnpei's chances of ascending the podium are shaping up. In Garcia's eyes the home advantage is huge, especially when you factor in the crowds that will no doubt fill the stands. 

Whilst the prospect of a successful Micronesian Games is exciting for Garcia, it goes beyond this, towards the future of tennis in Pohnpei, and Micronesia as a whole.

With Junior and Senior Tournaments within months of the end of the games, and a hope to host the North Pacific Regional Champs next year, it seems there is very much an aim to become the tennis capital of the North Pacific. 

For Garcia this journey begins with the Micronesian Games. By July 29 the final results of all matches will be known and Garcia, and the rest of Pohnpei are hoping there will be a Pohnpei player with a gold medal around their neck.


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