After a successful five-year run, Tennis Cambodia has dropped ITF Men’s Futures Series this year in favour of holding the Kingdom’s first ever Grade 5 Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup ITF Juniors for boys and Girls at the National Training Center on October 24-29.
The event is dedicated to the memory of the legendary late Tep Khunnah, who presided over the Golden Era of Cambodian tennis in the 1960s.
The qualifying rounds will be played over this weekend, with the 32-player main draw matches on Monday.
Since entering the ITF tour in 2011, Cambodia has emerged as one of the most popular pro-circuit stops in the region, with each year attracting better quality players. But in its grand vision of the future, Tennis Cambodia is to shift its focus from men’s to juniors to ensure the game’s all-round growth.
“We took great pride in bringing the ITF Men’s event to Cambodia before we had the honour of playing in the Davis Cup. Our organisational excellence, hospitality and spectacular tourism prospects have all added to Cambodia’s international appeal. Now we feel the time has come to harness our young talent,” secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithivit said.
“The grassroots programs that we put in place years ago are beginning to bear fruit and the only way to develop these talents is to create an international platform for our juniors” he said. “Our long term vision is to create a pathway for these youngsters to step up to the national team.’’
Up to 70 boys and girls from 14 countries will be in action, with eight Cambodian players getting their first taste of international competition at home.So far entries have been received from Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, USA, Sweden and Australia.
Cambodia will be represented in the boys section by Tep Timothy, Chheang Vannasith, Khleang Ponlok, Sen Sophon, Leng Sarinreach and Sam Davith. Hour Sreypov and Ho Sreynoch will compete in the girls event.
At the top of the boys main draw is Yu Feng Chen of Chinese Taipei, who holds an ITF Junior ranking of 653. Japan’s Runa Ichinose, currently ranked 460th, will head the girls field.
The Cambodian Country Club and Dara Airport Hotel are supporting the event as official hotel partners. Associate sponsors include ABA Bank, RMA Cambodia and Cambrew.