By Sushma Pai (14S03R) and Divya Muthiah (14S06C)
Photographs by Zhang Ziyu from the Photographic Society
After a gruelling 3 hour fight, Steve Ng from RI threw out a long shot that secured RI’s 5-0 win against ACS(I) in the tennis group finals. Immediately after the winning shot, he collapsed on the ground in sheer exhaustion as his teammates rushed towards him with beaming faces.
Steve’s match was the longest out of the ten matches that were played at Kallang Tennis and Squash centre on 9th May. Both matches were played against perennial arch-rivals: ACJC for the girls and ACS(I) for the boys.
The boys’ team put up a stellar performance. In the singles rounds, Lee Kai Yi won with a score of 6-0, 6-2 and Tan Jun Sing dominated his sets 6-0, 6-4. Of our doubles teams, Tan Jia Wei and Benedict Chua finished their games 7-6, 6-1 in an excellent display of teamwork while Basir Koh and Chris Wu put up a solid front as well, winning 6-3, 6-0. Steve Ng also defeated his long-time rival with 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 to top off a series of remarkable victories.
The girls’ team were not to be outdone, coming out ahead in 4 out of 5 games. The three singles matches comprised of Rehmat Johal who made a clean victory, winning 6-0, 6-0, Jennifer Wu, who won 6-4, 6-1 and Hannah Chew who persevered, but unfortunately lost to her opponent, one of the top tennis players in Singapore. In the first doubles, Stephanie Wong and Ting Yang Gin together won 6-4, 6-2. The most exciting match for the girls team was the doubles played by Sabrina Tan and Jean Iau, who played for 2 hours, winning 7-6, 6-7. 6-2.
The players were ecstatic about their well-deserved victory, being quick to thank their coach for his guidance and support. Yang Gin, when asked if she had expected to perform as well as she did, remarked “Before our match our coach gave us a prep talk and that really boosted our confidence. He made sure that when we went in, we played our best. Even though we can’t control the results we can control how we play. All we had to do was to play our best. So we were confident of winning since we played our best.”
Jennifer and Jean, captain and vice-captain respectively of the girls’ team released a joint statement, “Today was truly amazing, everyone fought their hardest and gave all they had. We couldn’t be more proud of the team for this very difficult win. We also want to thank all our friends and supporters who helped us throughout this season especially when the going got tough.”
For the boys, Jia Wei and Mitchell, the captain and vice-captain had this to say, “From the score line it may seem like a comfortable victory but it was a really tough game for us. We were lucky that we got a favourable lineup too! Really pleased that the team fought back really hard as some of the matches we came back from behind and won! Big thank you to the supporters that came down and CCAD for being constantly behind and supporting the team!”
While the fervour displayed on the tennis court was remarkable, the camaraderie between players outside the court was unforgettable as well. Once players finished their matches, they went on to support their other teammates playing regardless of how tired they themselves were. Every point scored by Team Raffles would be invariably followed by a volley of cheers and encouragement from their ardent supporters. The team spirit and selflessness between the tennis players made the victory all the more impressive.
Supporters were divided into two camps- the RI side and ACS family. Both sides screamed their hearts out, continually waving banners and also breaking out into cheers every now and then. Raffles supporters were more dispersed as we had players in all ten courts whereas ACJC supporters were concentrated around 5 courts and likewise for ACS(I). Despite this, our Rafflesian supporters still did a great job of keeping the Team Raffles spirit raging by roaring till their throats were sore.
Controlled playing and mental stamina were the keys to success in the tennis matches today. The head coach, Mr Weber Oh said the 5-0 that the boys scored was “one of the epic, best results so far” and was unexpected. Both teams scored better than what they were aiming for. He added that he was really proud as they had worked extremely hard for this day. When enquired about the secret of their success, he remarked, “The line-up was very good. That was an added advantage for us,” and for Steve, the fact that the opponent cramped before he did, helped him. He said “Both of them were equally good, but Steve held his nerve better than his opponent, which can be very difficult under such pressure with so many people watching.”
Raffles Press would like to congratulate the Raffles tennis team for their impressive performance, wishing them the best of luck for next year’s season.