Cambodia will launch its World Tennis Day celebrations on Sunday with hundreds of kids, parents, players and fans expected to swarm the National Training Centre for a fun-filled day out when the focus will be firmly on the promotion of the game and its charming benefits to people of all ages and athletic abilities.
Designated by the International Tennis Federation as a day to mark its centenary year in 2013, the WTD, which officially falls on March 3, is now one of the most important events in the global tennis calendar.
Like last year, Cambodia will be among the first batch of nations to mark this convivial occasion well ahead of the rest of the world.
In the lead up to this Sunday delight, the Tennis Federation of Cambodia will make two significant changes to its outlook, which will add luster to its global image.
The first alteration is a name change from TFC to Tennis Cambodia and the second is a new logo to go with this new identity.
“The new name brings a greater degree of dynamism and reflects the country’s bonding with tennis in a way that is unique. The new logo portrays the country’s cultural richness and its firm commitment to the game. I am optimistic that both these changes will enhance our visibility,” Tennis Cambodia secretary general Tep Rithivit told the Post.
Meanwhile, hectic preparations are well underway to make WTD an event to relish and remember for all those gathering at the NTC.
Tennis Cambodia’s global goodwill ambassador and former Miss Japan, Hisae Arai, will formally open the nearly four-hour long activities beginning from the morning.
In keeping with the WTD theme of promoting tennis and increasing participation in the game, the greater part of the action will involve kids who are either already playing or those who are willing to make a start. The same goes to parents, players, non-players, fans or followers.
“It’s for everyone. All are welcome to join the celebrations and get on to the court and swing their racquet, have a good time and get to know tennis better,” added Tep Rithivit.
The three full-fledged courts at the NTC will be turned into several mini courts for kids to play with less pressured balls and smaller racquets. Kids will also have a chance to spend court time with some of the national team players.
Apart from tennis skills, participants will be made aware of the importance of environmental aspects and nutritional and health issues.
ITF special events
On the global front, the WTD will be centred around three special events organised by the promoter StarGames in three different time zones – Hong Kong, London and New York.
These events will feature current and former professionals together with junior and wheelchair demonstrations, including the ITF’s ‘Tennis Play and Stay’ campaign.
Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Li Na and Samantha Stosur will figure in the BNP Paribas Showdown at the Hong Kong Velodrome; Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Pat Cash and Ivan Lendl will contest the World Tennis Day Showdown at London’s Earls Court; and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Bob and Mike Bryan, and John and Patrick McEnroe will take part at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Alongside these events, the ITF has encouraged all of its member associations to support WTD with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport. These include the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which has
already established the successful Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown, in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport.
“The inaugural World Tennis Day proved to be a very successful initiative, using high profile special events to bring attention to the developmental activities of our member nations on every continent,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti in a statement released by the ITF.