The Tennis Federation of Cambodia have expressed their intent on gaining an ITF B-category memebership which would allow them entry into the Davis Cup
Photo by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
Players and coaches of the 2009 Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup tournament pose with TFC Seretary Genaral Tep Rithivit (bottom row, centre) and Techincal Director Braen Aneiros (top row, third right) at the Cambodian Country Club November 28, 2009.
THE Tennis Federation of Cambodia (TFC) is vigorously pushing its bid to join the International Tennis Federation (ITF)’s prestigious Davis Cup competition. The Federation currently enjoys C-category membership, but will require B-category status in order to be eligible to play in the World’s oldest international team tennis tournament.
“We are losing no time on this,” asserted TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit. “We would like to jump into it as early as we can.”
Correspondence is well underway between the TFC and the ITF to sort out procedural requirements, although a formal application for B-class membership is yet to be made by the Cambodian side. The ITF stipulates a probation period of up to three years for all new entrants, though in special cases this condition can be relaxed. A newcomer to the Davis Cup from this region would be placed in the Asia-Ocenia group IV.
The Federation secretary noted that ITF regional development officer Suresh Menon returned home very satisfied after his to visit to Cambodia a few weeks ago. “[Menon] has already rated Cambodia as the most improved association in the region and that is a big plus for us,” said Tep Rithivit, adding that ATF president Anil Khanna would also visit the Kingdom next month. “We are leaning on support from all these quarters to reach the Davis Cup summit. For years we are waiting for something like this to happen and we are so close to it now.”
The secretary revealed that if the ITF takes a sympathetic view and the TFC delivers what is required from its side, the B-class membership could be granted in as few as two to three years. “Make no mistake I have the energy and the enthusiasm to pursue this to its happy end,” he assured.
TFC Technical Director Braen Aneiros, who also doubles up as national team coach, has no doubt as to the huge benefits afforded once a team are accepted into the international tournament. “A place in the Davis Cup competition could do wonders for Cambodia as a whole, and tennis in particular,” he stated during a training session with three young local players Saturday at the National Training Centre next to the Cambodian Country Club. “I have seen teams in Group IV, and I am confident our boys can do well in this group.”
Elevation in membership status would entail other fringe benefits for the TFC, the most notable of which is an opening to stage ITF tour events and boost considerably the national players’ chances of earning crucial ITF points and rankings.
Cambodian Open put back
The annual Cambodian Open Tennis tournament has been pushed back until September this year from its usual June slot. Tep Rithivit revealed that the change was forced by circumstances rather than anything else.
“We want our best players to play in the Open, but [in June] most of them are out on the circuit, so we had to move this event to a later date.”
Meanwhile, the TFC is planning a President’s Cup open tournament in July, as well as its other annual event, the season ending Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup slated for November.
On the junior front, the mini tennis programme is progressing smoothly and an event for the budding stars of the future is on the cards next month. Braen Aeniros also plans to introduce a couple youngsters to the Thai circuit.