Held over five days from the 6 March, the Southeast Asian (SEA) Men’s Team Invitational Tournament saw some of the region’s best and brightest competing and training together at the Kallang Tennis Centre.
Team Singapore's Roy Hobbs in action during a friendly doubles match during the Southeast Asian (S.E.A.) Men's Invitational Tournament 2017. Photo: Sport Singapore
Players from Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia took part in intense competition this week. Malaysia came up tops in the team event with victories over all the other countries. Indonesia came in second while Singapore and Cambodia third and fourth respectively.
Tournament organiser Cheryl Koh said that the tournament was part of the national team’s preparation for the upcoming SEA Games in Malaysia.
“When they train locally, they are all playing against each other all the time. So when we have exposure and invite other countries down to play, that’s where we bring the level up a little bit… it gives them the advantage of more match play at the international level,” said Koh, who is also a manager at the ActiveSG Tennis Academy.
The Singapore team of Roy Hobbs, Steven Ng, Joshua Liu and Shaheed Alam did well brushing aside the Cambodians but only to falter against the Malaysians. In the final day of the team competition, it came down to the wire as Indonesia edged past Singapore by two matches to one. The singles match between Steve Ng and Anthony Susanto was a close fight, with Ng losing 6-7 (9-11) 4-6.
Team Singapore's Steve Ng in action during a friendly doubles match. Photo: Sport Singapore
“It’s a very good initiative from Sport Singapore. These opponents are at about our level so we got very good match practice. Under pressure we learn what we can do better and what we can improve on,” said Ng, 22, who is currently playing tennis full time.
He also praised the coaching and support staff and stated his aim to win a medal at the next SEA Games.
In the Men’s Singles Event, Shaheed Alam proved that the rough year he had in 2016 was behind him as he took the title on the final day of competition, winning 6-4 6-4. Although the score line suggests a straightforward win, Shaheed had to come back from 4-2 down in both sets to win the title.
Team Singapore's Shaheed Alam in action during the quarterfinal of the Men's Singles Event. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I had a pretty rough year last year. This is confidence booster,” said Shaheed.
“I kept telling myself that am I going to win the set. I told myself come on, I can do it in the first set, I can do it in the second set. If you do the right thing, the score will be in your favour,” continued the Republic Polytechnic Student.