The 19th edition of the Games for Small States will truly remain in the minds and hearts of the Maltese sporting public. Malta placed first for the first time ever winning a total of 97 medals in the process, 38 of which were the coveted gold medals.
Our tennis team composed of Matthew Asciak, Matija Pecotic, Francesca Curmi and Elaine Genovese ably led by national team coach Gordon Asciak and MTF Technical Director, Stephen Caruana, contributed in no small manner to this incredible feat by winning 3 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronzes in just five events held. To put matters into perspective Malta had last won a gold medal in tennis in 1993 – 30 years ago.
The ladies pair of Francesca Curmi and Elaine Genovese (silver medalists in the 2022 Mediterranean Games) took the gold in the ladies doubles event defeating the strong Luxembourg team made up of Molinaro and Weckerle. Francesca Curmi followed this success by reaching the singles final only to lose to the number 1 seed and WTA 185, Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra to take the silver.
Elaine Genovese also made good progress in the singles event to reach the semi final and win a bronze medal after beating Eleonora Molinaro of Luxembourg in straight sets.
In the mixed doubles event Matthew Asciak and Elaine Genovese could not convert 3 match points in their semi final match against the strong Cypriot team and bowed out in the semi final. They recovered well, however, and won the bronze medal by comprehensively beating the Andorran pair of Cervos/Jimenez in the deciding match.
The men’s singles saw us winning our first ever gold in the event through Matija Pecotic. Pecotic came to Malta when still 4 years old and lived here for over 10 years before emigrating to the United States. As his parents still live on the Island he visits frequently and takes the opportunity to train with our national team players. Matija proved too strong for the polished Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus in the semi final and convincingly beat the more quoted Lucas Catarina of Monaco in the final.
The last gold medal came in the men’s doubles event when Matthew Asciak and Matija Pecotic played superbly to beat the strong pairing of Neos/Kyratsis in straight sets to the delight of the large crowd pairing.