The WTA Future Stars tournament is held yearly in conjunction with the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. As part of the program, top U14 and U16 female tennis players from 21 countries around Asia-Pacific are provided valuable experiences and exclusive insight into the world of professional women’s tennis.
Singapore being the host country of the WTA Finals and WTA Future Stars events, were given three additional qualifier slots per age group, making it four U16 qualifiers to the WTA Future Stars event. In the U16 event, Clare Cheng, Deanne Choo, Nicole Ng and Trisha Mulaini fought hard during the qualifying matches and earned their spots in this year’s WTA Future Stars event. Incidentally, they had all qualified and participated in last year’s WTA Future Stars event as well.
Clare Cheng is no stranger to representing Singapore at international tournaments. She has represented her country with success on numerous occasions, with the most notable being a silver medalist at the 2015 Junior South East Asian (SEA) games. In the future, her goal is to improve and be selected to represent Singapore at the Fed Cup and SEA Games.
From her experience at the WTA Finals last year, Cheng knows that the matches during the WTA Future Stars event are always tough. This only motivates her, spurring her on to train hard and focus on her areas of weakness, such as handling high pressure situations.
Wise beyond her years, Cheng shares with the WTA Finals team an interesting quote that she lives by.
“To me, there isn’t losing on court. Its either I win, or I learn”
“I’m always thankful when given the opportunity to represent Singapore, especially the rare chance to participate in the WTA Future Stars event twice” Cheng said. “It’s the final year in Singapore, I hope I can do the country proud!”
Tennis aside, Cheng is excited to meet new players and hopes to see some familiar faces this year at the WTA Future Stars event.
Picking up tennis was a natural thing for Choo, who comes from a family of tennis players. What she did not expect, was to fall in love with the sport and to be playing it on a competitive level. Choo loves tennis as the sport feeds her love for movement and exercise. She also enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes with competing.
“My favourite player is Simona Halep. I love her determination and perseverance, she keeps fighting and never gives up till it’s the last point. She inspires me to keep fighting,” Deanne Choo told the WTA Finals team.
Currently only 15 years old, but already the No.2 U16 junior in Singapore, Choo is working towards being the No.1 U16. She believes that the trick to reaching her goal is practice- playing more matches against more experienced players. Choo sees the WTA Future Stars event as the perfect opportunity to continue honing her skills. She sees a long path ahead of herself as a tennis player, willing herself to keep improving with every match that she plays.
Choo is incredibly honoured to be given the chance to represent Singapore at the WTA Future Stars event and promises that she will make the most of all the programs that are lined up for the participants, going into it ready to learn with an open mind.
From young, Nicole Ng has always wanted to be part of Singapore’s national tennis team and represent Singapore in the Fed Cup. When she needs inspiration, she looks up to her tennis idol, WTA Finals 2017 Champion, Caroline Wozniacki, trying to learn as much as she can from her.
“I wanted to be like Caroline so much that when I was younger, I used a picture of her as my Facebook profile picture,” Ng told the WTA Finals team with an embarrassed look on her face.
When asked specifically which traits of Caroline’s she admired, she highlighted her on court composure, as well as footwork and agility- all areas which Ng feels that she needs to work on.
With the WTA Future Star event just weeks away, Ng confessed that she is quite nervous.
“Even though it’s my second year representing Singapore in the WTA Future Stars event, it’s always quite a daunting experience and I really hope that I can achieve better results than last year’s,” says Ng.
Ng’s favourite moment is when she finally wins a match and is overwhelmed by the feeling of happiness. Nonetheless, she will not be putting too much pressure on herself this round and will be trying to have as much fun as possible and enjoy the tennis during the WTA Future Stars event.
Like Ng, 15 year-old Trisha Mulaini’s favourite player is also Caroline Wozniacki. She too admires Caroline’s mental strength and tenacity.
“She always remains so focused during her matches, it’s incredible,” says Mulaini. “She pushes herself to work on her weaknesses until they become strengths and never stops trying to achieve her goals, like winning the WTA Finals last year.”
When asked what made Mulaini first pick up the sport, she shared with the WTA Finals team that most of the credit goes to her father. She explained that initially, her family wanted to spend quality time together and learn a sport on the weekends. When her father noticed that Mulaini was showing extra potential in tennis, he made the decision to send her for more advanced lessons and let her play tennis competitively.
Up till this day, Mulaini is indebted for her father’s support. She believes that tennis has taught her life lessons such as the importance of working hard, determination and humility. Furthermore, she admits that when she is stressed, she enjoys playing some tennis and hitting the balls extra hard.
“I’m grateful to be given the chance to participate in the WTA Future Stars event again. I’m going to fight hard and give it my all during the matches!” said Mulaini.
The WTA Finals team wishes all four girls the best in their preparation for the WTA Future Stars event in Singapore!
The WTA Future Stars event is held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Catch the WTA Future Stars U14 and U16 Finals on 21 October before the opening ceremony of WTA Finals for free. Click here to get your tickets to the WTA Finals.