For the third year in succession, the Tennis Federation of Cambodia will be rolling out three back-to-back US$10,000 ITF Men’s Futures events at the National Training Centre with a new sponsor on board for the first leg starting on Monday.
Cambodia’s major player in hire purchase sector, Group Lease Finance (GLF), has already pledged its full support for the second and third week of the competition, building on the company’s similar backing last year.
Within a few days of notice, RMA Cambodia, specialist providers of infrastructure solutions through sophisticated logistics and supply chain systems, stepped in as the main sponsors for the first week’s tournament involving about 100 players drawn from 25 countries.
The qualifying rounds to fill in eight spots in the 32 player main draw that includes 20 direct entries and four wild cards will begin tomorrow with the first round of the tournament proper slated for Monday and the final for the following Saturday.
Entertainment and Gaming sector giants NagaWorld, who had sponsored the first leg of the 2012 Futures, preferred this year to shift their focus to junior development. For a while the TFC faced uncertainty over sponsorship arrangements until the RMA offer came through and the partnership agreement was formalised.
“What drove us is TFC’s passion for tennis development and I am always moved by that slogan ‘Killing Fields to Tennis Courts’. It says it all,” RMA Cambodia CEO Rami Sharaf told the Post yesterday. “Our strategic goal when it comes to our group’s corporate social responsibility is youth development and supporting an international event like the Futures is perfectly in line with that philosophy,” he added.
TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to RMA and its CEO Rami Sharaf for coming in as partners at such short notice. It is great to have them in our fold.”
Meanwhile, the ITF-named tournament supervisor for the entire series, Puneet Gupta of India, arrived yesterday.
He is no stranger to Cambodia, having led the team of officials in the last two cycles. But what is different for Puneet and Cambodian tennis this year is that he will be conducting a two-day chair umpires course beginning today for up to 10 aspirants getting their first lessons in performing duties as officials.
During the next three weeks, five umpires, three from Indonesia including two women and one each from Vietnam and Malaysia, will officiate the matches with the help of 15 local line judges.
Cambodia’s top player Bun Kenny and his Davis Cup team-mate Mam Phalkun will get into the main draw as wild cards. The TFC is handing out two other wild cards to Japan’s Katsushi Fukuda and Sri Lankan No 1 Dineshkanthan Thangarajah.
Interestingly, the winner of Cambodia’s first ever Futures event in 2011, Danai Udomchoke of Thailand, is back this week and so also is the 2012 third leg winner Robin Kern of Germany in a field that looks decidedly stronger than the one last year.