THE second Kep Open tennis tournament, offering a total prize fund of US$1,000, goes centre stage today at the seaside town’s only court at the Villa Romonea complex with the grand final billed for Tuesday.
One of the members of the national coaching staff, Long Chumnet, who has been working for more than a year with orphanage programs, will go out as the top seed for the event ahead of local French player Hugh Grant. The winner is assured of prizemoney of $350 with the runner-up getting $160. Semi-finalists pick up $80 each, while those who make it to the last eight get $30 each.
Running concurrently with this event will be the Tournoi des Petits As de Kep on Sunday and Monday for boys and girls under 14.
The newly formed assembly of local French players, coaches, enthusiasts and fans – AS Kep – will organise the two tournaments in association with the Tennis Federation of Cambodia.
Several local businesses have stepped in to support the Kep Open, reflecting the huge buzz that tennis has been creating in the town.
“AS Kep would like to thank our local sponsors Veranda Natural Resort, Villa Romonea, The Beach House, Kepmandou Lounge and Breezes Restaurant. Without their enthusiastic support we could not have put this show together,” event coordinator Sokphal Ngo-Sisowath told the Post yesterday.
With just one standardised court available in the whole of the town, the organisers have no option but to introduce shortened four-game sets up to the final which, however, will be contested over conventional six-game advantage sets.
For the junior event, Svay Voth, Sek Sokpoan and Chen Samphors occupy the top three seedings in that order. The event is expected to draw entries from all over the country.
A clutch of local sponsors backing the juniors include Toucan Bar and Restaurant, Veranda Natural Resort, The Beach House, Kep Lodge, Coastal Guide, Vanna Hill Resort, Enseignement Solidaire and La Baraka Bar & Restaurant.
The TFC will be providing logistical support for the Kep Open and the U14 tournaments as part of its drive to promote competitive tennis in provincial centres.
“Kep has made tremendous strides in the last one year in grass roots promotion. The resurfacing of the court to international standards in Villa Romonea is a great step forward for this town and our aim is to create soon another court of the same quality,” said TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit.
“This open men’s tournament gives over 100 kids now in our schools program a taste of that competitive spirit we want them to develop. I hope other provincial centres take a leaf out of the Kep book.”