Women’s tennis team includes Guam’s best

Michael Mebratu

Terea Tapu is the No. 1 woman tennis player in Guam and has taken City College tennis by storm.

She has been taking in wins for the undefeated women’s tennis team.

The 5 foot-1-inch Tapu was born and raised in the capital city of Guam. Daughter of Polynesian entertainers, she started playing tennis at the age of nine.

The national sport of Guam is soccer, and naturally Tapu embraced it. Until her father convinced her that tennis was the way to go.

“I’m a late boomer,” she said. “I remember during summers, I would be on the court from eight in the morning to twelve at night just hitting and hitting balls.”

Tapu, 18, got her first taste of international competition at a young age.

Her first national call-up came after just turning 13 years old, and she has never looked back.

“I was shocked, I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It was an honor, and it also made me work even harder.”

She was the MVP at Harvest Christian high school and has 11 under-18 titles.

Tapu hopes to continue her success and her motto is to always play her best and keep going forward.

She tries to emulate her game on the court after her favorite tennis player, Swiss grand slam master Roger Federer.

“Federer is both mentally and physically smart,” said Tapu. “I try to bring that into my own game.”

The City College women’s tennis team is undefeated so far this season, 7-0 and the freshman sensation has played a key role while tormenting her opponents with her swift stroke and volleys.

“She’s very tough, fluid, and smooth all in one,” said head coach Debbie Ekola. “She works hard and that brings confidence into her game.”

The right-handed Tapu is constantly working on her tennis skills with a grin from cheek-to-cheek.

“She is by far the nicest person. She always has a smile on her face,” said freshman Karol Martin. “When I was new she welcomed me with open arms.”

Ekola is quick to praise the freshman, but she also shared that her team is very good all-round.

Tapu acquired her work ethic and tennis skills from both her parents.

Her father plays tennis and her mother has previously played for the national team at the same time.

But some things have not been as smooth as her tennis game.

Tapu said that coming to the United States was a big transition because she was unsure of her tennis skills.

That all changed after trying out for the team, and she instantly knew that City College was the right fit. She explained the team’s success comes down to team bonding.

“We are like a family,” Tapu said. “We always push each other, and we have a great captain in sophomore Meghan Schaefer who leads us.”

Coach Ekola said that Tapu’s strongest skills are her net game and her attitude, but she also reveled an area where she can improve.

“She brings that wonderful Island spirit,” Ekola said. “She has a very smooth game, but she could work on her second serve.”

Tapu is also trying to succeed behind the desk.

She’s majoring in Sociology and said that life is difficult being a full-time student and a collegiate athlete.

In her spare-time she enjoys watching movies, swimming at the beach, and watching soccer.

“She is very chill and calm off-court,” said teammate Anna Slyutova. “But on the court she is very consistent and pulls out very important wins for the team.”