4 Feb 2020

Sport: Guam to make Fed Cup tennis debut

10:35 am on 4 February 2020

Guam are keeping their expectations in check ahead of their debut appearance in the Fed Cup women's tennis competition.

The US Territory was previously affiliated with the Pacific Oceania regional team but will make their standalone debut in the Asia/Oceania Group Two event which starts in Wellington, New Zealand on Tuesday.

Charlayne Espinosa, Katrina Lai and Nadine Del Carmen will represent Guam in their Fed Cup tennis debut.

Charlayne Espinosa, Katrina Lai and Nadine Del Carmen will represent Guam in their Fed Cup tennis debut. Photo: Facebook/Guam National Tennis Federation

Guam has competed in the Davis Cup men's competition for the past two years but Fed Cup captain Sam Lai said the smaller pool of female players on island means it's taken longer for a Fed Cup team to become a reality.

"We're very lucky to be able to join this year," Sam Lai said.

"There are more boys or guys playing than women, especially on Guam with such a small population and we happen to have some girls [who] are able to make it, even [though] they are working and still going to college.

"So, we're fortunate that we are able to come. We were supposed to have four but one finally could not make it but we're happy to be able to join [the Fed Cup] with three ladies this time."

The Pacific Oceania team at the Fed Cup dinner in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Guam was previously affiliated with the Pacific Oceania Fed Cup team, which also competes in Asia/Oceania Group Two. Photo: Facebook

US-based trio Nadine Del Carmen, Katrina Lai and Charlayne Espinosa will be representing Guam on the court and have spent the past few days adjusting to the cooler and windy Wellington climate.

Lai said, with the territory all new at this level, it would be something of a learning experience.

"Our expectation is not high, obviously, because we're facing some very strong countries like Thailand, Singapore, even New Zealand locally," he said.

"But we don't want to be the last team. We want to win [matches against] one to two countries so that's our realistic expectation."

"Nadine is playing competitive college right now so she's probably in the best condition among all three girls and obviously that's why we named her number one," Lai said.

"Katrina she just graduated last year (and is now based in Philadelphia after four years at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh), so she wasn't totally out of tennis but she's been training the last three/four months...Charlayne is also playing local tournaments in the Seattle area so she's also well prepared for this tournament."

Team Guam during their Davis Cup debut in Oman.

Guam previously made its Davis Cup debut in 2018. Photo: Supplied/Guam National Tennis Federation

Guam will open their campaign against the Philippines this morning and will also face Turkmenistan and Thailand in Group B over the next four days.

Host nation New Zealand have been drawn alongside Pakistan, Mongolia and Singapore in Group A, with the top qualifier from each group to playoff for promotion to Asia/Oceania Group One on Saturday.

The Pacific Oceania Fed Cup team were relegates from the top tier in 2019 and will compete in another Asian Oceania Group Two event in Malaysia in June.