THE Kingdom’s second national ranking tennis tournament, the Cambodian Open, is scheduled to get underway tomorrow at the National Training Centre, creating an ideal platform for top seed Bun Kenny to get some serious match play ahead of next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou.
The tennis community is gradually warming up to the twice rescheduled Cambodian Open with a field of around 60 expected to take part in the week-long championship, which carries a total prize of about US$2,500. The competition – involving men’s singles and doubles, U14 and U18 boys singles, and Over 45s singles events – is being held under the aegis of the Tennis Federation of Cambodia.
A notable feature this year is the supportive role being played by TFC’s newest sponsor Pepsi, alongside main sponsor Ezecom.
“Entries are trickling in,” said TFC Technical Director and national team coach Braen Aneiros. “We are keeping it open till 11am [Friday] morning, and the draw will be made half an hour later at the TFC office.”
To encourage elderly tennis player participation, the Over 45s singles event has been introduced this year. Aneiros also noted an extra set of matches offered to those who make an early exit.
“Like the Cham Prasidh Cup, we will have a back draw in the men’s singles event where winners get to a circle of their own and first round losers get down to a second tier competition,” he said. “This way the competitive flavour lingers much longer for those who are beaten in the early rounds.”
Two promising players from Estonia, who are currently playing in the Vietnam International Junior Tournament at Bac Lieu, are likely to attend the Cambodian Open if their schedules permit them to be here in time. The European duo had already planned a visit next week for a training session at the NTC, but their participation in the Open depends on whether they could confirm their travel plans before the draw is made.
“We are not sure whether these boys can make it. We are waiting for their call,” said Aneiros. “It would be good if they are here. One of them has a junior ranking of around 800, and he probably would be seeded second behind [Bun] Kenny, who is an obvious choice, being the country’s No 1 player.”
First round matches of the men’s singles competition are slated for a 9am start on Saturday at the NTC next to the Cambodian Country Club.
Meanwhile, the recently filmed documentary on the TFC will be repeatedly shown on news channel CNN’s Open Court programme this weekend. Viewing times in Cambodia are 1:30pm tomorrow, 10:30am, 2:30pm and 10pm on Sunday and 8:30am on Monday.