Singapore Sports School (SSP) clinched the Schools National B Division boys' tennis title on their first attempt, beating defending champions Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) 4-1 at the Kallang Tennis Centre on Wednesday.
The Singapore Tennis Association (STA) had invited the SSP to field a tennis team for this year's tournament, in a bid to raise the level of competition in the sport.
Four players on the SSP team benefit from the Full-Time Tennis Programme, which is funded by the STA. Tennis does not have full sport-academy status in the school.
"Everyone was expecting us to win, to play at our best," said SSP's Seth Teoh, 16. "It made us nervous beforehand, but when we played, we felt quite comfortable."
For the SSP, this support means their tennis team get more exposure to tournaments at different levels.
Said STA general manager Gregory Tan, 45: "I think we've seen the benefits of their participation in other sports. Schools might take a while to accept that, but they could see it as improving themselves by trying to beat the SSP."
ACS(I) may have lost their title, but insisted that they gave their best shot in front of their loud supporters.
Said team captain Will Angkawidjaja: "We knew the odds were against us - but I'm proud that we certainly gave 110 per cent and fought hard, which is what our supporters deserved. Tennis is not about winning - its purpose is to build character; to be resolute, unyielding and resilient. We would fight just as hard given another chance, maybe next year."