Cambodian No 1 tennis player Bun Kenny (left) arrives at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday with national team coach Braen Aneiros. Bun Kenny grabbed his first ATP point at a Men’s Futures tournament in Vientiane. Photo Supplied
Cambodia’s top ranked tennis player Bun Kenny’s winning streak in the US$10,000 ITF men’s futures in Vientiane came to a halt on Wednesday when he went down to Taiwan’s Chen Ti 6-2, 6-1 in the second round. But the 20-year-old was given a rousing reception by the Tennis Federation of Cambodia at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday upon his return home as only the second player in the Kingdom’s history to gain an ATP ranking.
“In a way it is mission accomplished for Cambodian tennis and we wanted to show that we take care of our players and appreciate their hard work,” said TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit. “It had been a long wait but it is worth it, and we look forward to better results from Kenny.
“It gives us a great impetus to pitch in our own ranked player into the two Futures events slated for early January next year in Phnom Penh. I can say without the fear of contradiction that the entire tennis community is happy over Kenny’s achievement.”
Two-time SEA Games bronze medalist Tan Nysan, currently training in France, was the first Cambodian player to get an ATP point, and with Bun Kenny emulating his feat, the TFC has found another good reason to celebrate.
“World ranking helps a player in many ways. It builds his confidence and makes his passage into circuit tournaments much easier. It is just like a ladder being set up for you to climb,” said national team head coach Braen Aneiros, who flew back with Kenny from the Laos tournament.
“The Asian Games in Guangzhou should provide Bun Kenny a great deal of experience since some of the toughest players in Asia would be seen in action,” the coach added. “It is a tough assignment for him, but one that should help him build up for what promises to be a hectic new season early next year.”
“Its more relief than happiness. I would like to build on this momentum” said Bun Kenny, before admitting that it was just the beginning of a challenging phase of his pro-tennis career.
The TFC was also quick in acknowledging Indian tennis maestro Leander Paes’ advice to Bun Kenny last month, when the world’s most popular doubles and mixed doubles specialist had told the Cambodian player to “do whatever it takes, but get your ATP point first”.