Cambodia’s historic Davis Cup debut is set for April 16 next year in the Qatari capital of Doha, when the Kingdom’s tennis team will join nine other countries in the Asia Oceania group IV tournament to set the 2012 cycle rolling.
Cambodia is the newest nation to join the sport’s oldest international team competition, following the Tennis Federation of Cambodia’s elevation to B Class membership at the annual general meeting of the International Tennis Federation in Bangkok on September 23.
The Asia Oceania group IV, along with the Americas, form the lowest tier of the Davis Cup structure. At stake for these teams starting from the bott-om rung are two promotional slots to Group III in 2013.
Cambodia is clustered with Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Myanmar, Qatar, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.
The 10 teams will be split into two pools of five in a round-robin competition, at the end of which the top two from each pool will play criss-cross semifinals to determine the final two making the group III cut in 2013.
“This is the kind of exciting news I have been waiting to hear all my life. At last we are in the Davis Cup, and it is a rich tribute to the sacrifices that so many tennis players in the past have made,” TFC secretary-general Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.
“This will be our first, and biggest, tennis mission outside of the SEA Games, and it is a perfect international stage for the country to show the rest of the world that there is more to Cambodia than just the Killing Fields or Angkor Wat.
“I can't imagine another tennis tournament in the world as compelling and coveted as the Davis Cup, and the federation feels honoured to be part of this great legacy.”
Tep Khunnah Cup hits off
The 16th annual Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup national ranking open tournament rolls into action at the National Training Centre from Saturday. The event, held in honour of the late Tep Khunnah, who is regarded as the father of Cambodian tennis, offers competition in eight categories to cover players of all levels.
Although the men’s A singles, confined to ranked players, continues to be the showpiece of the week-long event, the men’s B and men’s C singles are open affairs for players of any age and skill levels.
Apart from the men’s doubles, the tournament involves boys’ and girls’ U12 singles, boys' U14 singles and boys’ U18 singles.
Entry fee per event is US$10 for foreigners and $2 for Cambodians. Details about registration can be obtained from Chea Poev on 012 824314 and Khith Sippin in 012 889001.