PNG tennis star Tere-Apisah breaks into WTA top 400


PAPUA New Guinea tennis star Abigail Tere-Apisah, pictured, has broken into the top 400 in the world with a career high singles ranking of 386 following the release this week of the latest WTA singles rankings.
This comes on the back of reaching the quarter-finals in ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournaments in both Perth and Mildura in Australia over the last couple of weeks.
This week she is playing in Mornington, Victoria.
At the breaking of the great news, Tere-Apisah posted this week on her official Facebook page: “Yes guys!! I’ve finally made it on the world ranking list and onto the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) website. Pumped for my upcoming tournaments and looking to drop that ranking lower.”
Tere-Apisah’s coach and father Kwalam Apisah yesterday said the ranking was a huge achievement as she was the first player from the Oceania Tennis Federation to have come this far in the world rankings.
The 24-year-old turned professional following her gold medal success at the 2015 Pacific Games and, using the K80,000 government incentive, she entered into the Australian tennis circuit.
The Morobe and Central lass started off with an ITF ranking of 936 but improved to 442 at the end of 2016.
In the 2017, following three tournaments at which she made the quarter-finals, her ranking improved further to 386, the highest ever in the Pacific.
“This is huge. WTA is keeping track of  Abigail,” Kwalam said.
“Her goal for 2017 is to break into the reach 250s.
“But it’s tough and costs a lot of money.
“She’s playing better players than herself. She needs a lot of money for airfares, accommodation, meals and transport.”
To recoup some of the costs involved, she has to win a few games.
“If you’re ranked between 200 and 400, you don’t earn money when on tour.  You have to be in the top 100 and that’s what Abigail is aiming for.”
Tere-Apisah is now looking at playing on the US professional circuit, according to her father.
father Kwalam said his daughter wanted to play in tournaments in Florida and from the US she would also be eyeing European tournaments which would “be a lot more economical for her”.
Kwalam said because of her rankings in the last three Australian tournaments, she had broken into the main draw from the qualifying draw of the ITF.