The Fed Cup is the premier international team women’s tennis tournament in the world. Calling itself “The World Cup of Tennis”, teams compete in zonal competitions in their quest to join the top ranked countries in the World group.
Our Singaporean lasses defied expectations in this year’s Group II Asia/ Oceania Group B competition by beating favourites Malaysia and Indonesia on their way to a narrow loss to the Philippines in the promotion playoff.
The team shared with Sport Singapore about their experiences during the tournament held in Hua Hin, Thailand.
(L to R) Charmaine Seah, Ashley Yim, Coach Daniel, Stefanie Tan and Goh Yee Loon pose for a picture. Photo: Sport Singapore
“Going in as a team is very different from being an individual because going in as an individual into tournaments you know everyone is your competitor,” said Stefanie Tan, 23, the lead singles player in the team.
“But here we went in as a team and the four of us were going to go through everything thick and thin no matter what the outcome we’d still be a team. It was nice to have the girls watching your matches and supporting you. It just changes the way you’re fighting not just for yourself but for the team and of course your country!” she continued.
Goh Yee Loon agreed, saying: “It’s important for everyone to be really supportive of each other. To be there when things were a little tough.”
Stefanie Tan in action during a training session. Photo: Sport Singapore
Singapore was placed in the same group as top South East Asian teams Indonesia and Malaysia, and the players had to overcome some very tough opponents.
Charmaine Seah said one of the highlights for her was the match against Indonesia: “My toughest match was against Indonesia, it was a gruelling three hour match. I had a pretty rough start, I was actually down 5-0 in the first set," she said.
“I just felt like I had to give it my everything you know. So that at the end of the match, you don’t regret it. You just want to do your best and of course, I couldn’t have done it alone. With God’s grace and guidance, I think he helped me pull through,” said the full-time tennis player."
For Stefanie Tan however, it was a doubles match against Malaysia that stood out most in the entire competition. “It came down to the deciding doubles and we were 5-3 down in the second set and I mean everything was against us like I think for a moment I thought that that’s it. When we managed to come back and win that second set we were pumped and we were exhausted,” said the 2015 SEA Games player.
Charmaine Seah in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I think that Malaysia couldn’t believe that they lost the match because they had it in the pocket already. It was fantastic because we got so fired up. That was an amazing match and after we finished it (the match), Charmaine and I couldn’t believe it and everyone was so happy about that win."
Tan was also full of praise for the support that SportSG and ActiveSG have been giving her, and said their help was invaluable.
Stefanie Tan (right) and Charmaine Seah hi-five during a training session. Photo: Sport Singapore
“SportSG has done a great job to expose us to international players. I have benefited from joining training camps with pro players and getting to spar and train alongside them,” she said.
“The engagement with Martina Navratilova was a fantastic intimate session. I was really impressed by her mentality towards tennis, everything was about challenging herself and finding ways to continually improve, despite already being at the top of the women's game. She has a champion’s mentality, always staying positive, and it was very inspiring,” continued Tan.