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Brothers Mom touch down, hit the courts

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Cambodian-American tennis players Panhara Mom and his brother Vitu Mom arrived in the wee small hours yesterday to bolster Cambodia’s Group IV Asia Oceania Davis Cup campaign in Doha next month.

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After a few hours of rest at the Cambodian Country Club, where they are staying, the Mom brothers were out on court at the National Training Centre for a light practice session with other members of the national team including the country’s No 1 Bun Kenny.

“I am feeling just fine,” Panhara told the Post when pointedly asked whether the long haul flight and the time zone changes had left him travel weary.

“We were born and raised in the United States, but we are honoured to represent the country of our father’s origin. This is our first visit and we are excited and pumped up at the prospect of playing for Cambodia.”

The Oregon-based siblings hold an impressive record in college tennis, with Panhara enjoying a No 1 ranking in his four years at the Portland University. He played in a couple of Futures events in Brazil before a career in teaching curtailed his competitive tennis in the last year and a half.

“Our aim is to help the national team in this campaign and we are fully focused on that. It takes some more time for us to adjust,” said Vitu during a courtside interview.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Tennis Federation of Cambodia Tep Rithivit, who is almost certain to head the national team as its non-playing captain in Doha, said they were thrilled to have two promising players with excellent college tennis credentials.

“Its a great boost for our campaign. It’s an exciting build up for us,” he said. “We have been considerably strengthened and we have a better balance and we could not have hoped for anything better.”

In the absence of national coach Braen Aneiros, who is away in Japan, assistant coach Chea Phov directed the training session, with the Mom duo and Bun Kenny breaking sweat in a lively training session. The preparations will gather speed once Aneiros returns to Phnom Penh next week.

The Mom brothers along with Bun Kenny are scheduled to play in two Futures events in Vietnam in early April to ensure enough match-play sharpness before the national team departs to the Middle East on April 13.

The ITF has announced that the two groupings among the 10 nations in the pool will be made known on March 19. The official draw will take place in Doha on April 15 with Cambodia set to open its Cup campaign the following day.

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