Oceania tennis lament relegation

Missed opportunities and a lack of preparation have been cited as key reasons for Pacific Oceania's relegation in the Fed Cup tennis competition.

The regional team failed to win a match in their first appearance in 18 years after being swept 3-0 by China, Indonesia and South Korea to finish bottom of Pool B, consigning them to automatic relegation back to Group Two in 2020.

Team Captain Gilles De Gouy said the players failed to take their chances against more experienced opposition.

"In Group One you play against better players than you - you have just a few opportunities - I should say four or five - during a match and you have two or three strikes in the first two games - so when you have these break points is where you have to take at least one or two, 50 percent of these opportunities," he said.

De Gouy says all four players need to make improvements if they want to be a part of the Pacific Oceania squad in future.

Papua New Guinea's Abigal Tere-Apisah and Samoa's Steffi Carruthers took their doubles match against China to a deciding third set, while Tere-Apisah also went the distance in her singles rubbers against Indonesia and South Korea.

De Gouy said Carruthers was affected by knee problems which restricted her to only playing doubles, while Tere-Apisah did not arrive in Kazakhstan in peak condition following visa issues.

"She had to stay two months in PNG so there was no official matches for her - her last official matches was at the end of November, which is way too far...she felt finally well on court regarding the score in an official match on the final day, which is way too far and way too late, so she has definitely to organise herself so she could play more official matches the same month as the Fed Cup," he said.

Papua New Guinea's Violet Apisah struggled on her Fed Cup debut, losing both singles rubbers in straight sets before twisting her ankle.

De Gouy said the teenager, who was replaced by Carol Lee for the final pool match, needs to lift her professionalism if she wants to improve.

"It's quite surprising because she's played a few times on the Grand Slam Junior (circuit) - she played US Open, Australian Open in the last few years and so different the Fed Cup is. I think she still has to learn a lot about professionalism and taking responsibility and so I think it's a big learning curve for her in this event because it's fully different from her previous experience as a player."

Thailand were also relegated and will join Pacific Oceania in Asia/Oceania Group Two next year.

Photo: Facebook Caption: Pacific Oceania tennis players Violet Apisah, Abigail Tere-Apisah, Carol Lee, Steffi Carruthers.