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Hope amidst despair

30 November 2020

Tennis players having fun is the winner on the day

Wednesday 18 November 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Other Sports, Sports


Tennis players having fun is the winner on the day
The Edgewater Resort & Spa general manager Franz Staufer, Nane Vainepoto and men’s doubles winners Felix Matapuku and Jason Pierre. 20111712

The beauty of seeing former tennis legends on the courts during the Cook Islands Games stuck in the mind of Tiki Daniel, so much so that he decided to create another tournament.

Seeing players enjoy themselves at the first Edgewater Resort and Spa Masters Doubles Tennis Tournament, took Tiki Daniel back to the days when tennis was so popular.

A former international tennis representative, he proposed the event.

“It is a great place to start the tournament,” he said.

The successful two-day event on November 13-14 will now become an annual tournament for women from 40 years and men from 45 years + doubles tennis event.

“Covid did a good job at bringing people out of their homes and the games were amazing,” said Daniel.

“There were tennis players like myself who have not been on a court for 20 years… we all registered to play.”

Watching legend players like Ned Howard, Tupou Faireka play tennis again was a beautiful thing to see, Daniel said.

“We had represented the Cook Islands in the past.”

Like his father Apii Daniel, Tiki was also former national coach for many years.

He grew up surrounded by tennis.

“We had no choice but to play tennis; in those days it was a dream to be at the level of our father.”

In the past there were nine tennis clubs on the island: Arorangi, Titikaveka, Ngatangiia, Matavera, Tupapa, Takuvaine, Nikao and Avatiu.

“We would turn up to the game all dressed in white and with a nu (if you were hosting).

Unfortunately, as time moved on, changes occurred.

“Then we lost the clubs, that was the fall of tennis - when we lost the clubs, we lost the foundation of tennis.”

Tennis died out and players moved on to other sports.

Current national tennis coach Malcom Kajer is a former student of Daniel.

“Malcom now has a career in tennis, he is doing a marvellous job.”

Daniel signed up for Team Manihiki tennis in the games, but got injured in his first match.

Chasing a ball, both his knees gave up.

Due to his injury he discovered the healing massage hands of Papa Ioane Katoa from Pukapuka.

“He was amazing, after his massage I managed to play volleyball for our team,” he said.

Papa Katoa also attended the Edgewater Masters tennis event to help those others with injuries.

“People queued up for a massage from him, he was such great help to the players.”

Daniel said, seeing the players have fun on court, the dancing in between breaks, and having good laughs was special.

“The winner for me was seeing these players enjoy themselves, it took me back to the older days when tennis was so popular.”

“We are also thankful to Vodafone, Cook Islands Tourism and the Tennis Association who joined us in creating this event.”

Results for the Edgewater Resort and Spa Masters doubles tennis tournament are as follows:

The men’s winners: First Jason Pierre and Felix Matapuku, second Malcom Kajer and Tangi Mataiti.

The women’s winners: First Tanya Savage and Lawrencia Williams, second Shona Lynch and Mary Young.

The most humorous award went to Aunty Nane Vainepoto from Cook Islands Tourism; most outrageous outfit to Jeannine Daniel and Pipa Arona for wearing a different outfit in every game; the wooden spoon award went to Roland Neururer (we all know we were playing tennis, but someone forgot to let Papa Roland know as he was hitting sixes in his game); the Tokotoko awards went to Brian Baudinet, Eric Newnham, Robert Skews and Mahai Daniel - who are the masters of the universe, their knees kept playing up but, they persevered on.