Saturday 16 January 2010 | Published in Regional
Training in the Rarotonga heat and humidity is all part of rising Cook Islands tennis star Brittany Teei’s goal to rank in the top 100 players of the world.
The 20-year-old used last year’s Pacific Mini Games as a springboard to re-launch her tennis career after spending six years recovering from a broken ankle.
Teei broke her ankle while representing New Zealand as a 14-year-old in Germany and while most would have chucked in the towel – she put her coaching hat on and ran her own coaching programme at the Ngatira tennis club in Mt Eden.
“When I broke my ankle I naturally went into coaching to stay in the game I love,” says Teei.
Teei won three medals at the mini games tennis competition – bronze in the women’s singles, silver in the women’s team event and gold in the doubles competition with Kairangi Vano. Now she has her eyes firmly fixed on achieving her first ranking at next month’s ranking competition in South Korea and qualifying for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games by competing in the Australian Amateur Open in September.
“The mini games were a big highlight for me and to reach a top 100 ranking is my ultimate aim in tennis,” says Teei.
Teei is currently training daily with the local junior elite squad and mini games squad member Brett Baudinet to prepare for her up and coming events.
Teei says that while she has a number of people that help coach her, she mostly trains herself through self-discipline and motivation.
Teei is a fulltime tennis player and wants to see how far her hard work and commitment to the sport will take her.
While she admits making money while doing what she loves is great, making money is not why she got into tennis.
“I just really enjoy the game and making money doing what I love is a bonus,” says the proud Cook Islander.
While born and raised in Auckland, Teei says she is one hundred percent proud to be a Cook Islander.
The daughter of Tereapii Teei and partner Alex Sword, who run an English language school in South Korea, credits her staunch pride as a Cook Islander to her grandmother Tereapii.
“My nana brought me up to be a strong Cook Islander right throughout my life,” says Teei.
“That’s why when I was asked to play in the mini games just two months before the event, I grabbed the opportunity because this is where my heart is.”
Teei is currently helping run a junior tennis programme at the Tennis Centre in Nikao and encourages parents to get their children into the sport.
“Tennis opens up a lot of opportunities including travelling and making good money,” says Teei. “And it’s a great lifestyle.”