Cambodia’s fast- growing reputation as a popular men’s tennis circuit stop in Southeast Asia has been shored up by the International Tennis Federation.
The world’s governing body has awarded three Futures tournaments this year to the Kingdom, and the Tennis Federation of Cambodia (TFC) will stage the US$10,000 events back to back in Phnom Penh.
The National Training Centre, adjacent to the Cambodian Country Club, will be the venue for all the three competitions, the first of which will be between November 19 to 25. The second is scheduled for November 26 to December 2 while the third is slated for December 3-9.
Players of a dozen different nationalities were full of praise for the organisational excellence of the country when it hosted two $15,000 Futures events for the first time in early 2011.
“That was a huge success. It unveiled Cambodia to the circuit. In November, it will be even better,” TFC Secretary-General Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.
“Most of the players who were here last year, especially the Indian contingent, are keeping their promise made then that they would come back. We expect a lot of quality players to turn up and it is good news for Cambodian tennis,” added the secretary-general, who led Cambodia’s successful Group IV Davis Cup campaign in Doha in Mid April as non-playing captain.
“Apart from the prize fund of $30,000, there is a huge running cost involved. We continue to rely on the goodwill of our sponsors and partners who have been with us,” said Tep Rithivit. “We hope more from the private and corporate sectors as also private businesses get on board.”
The TFC is already counting on the benefits three weeks of international tennis would bring to Cambodian players such as Bun Kenny and Mam brothers Panhara and Vetu, who a few months after would be heading to the Group III Davis Cup campaign.
For Cambodian top player Bun Kenny, who has been consistently doing well on the circuit having picked up five ATP points in the last six months, the home advantage could work wonders in his attempt to break the world rankings barrier of 1,000. The Mam brothers are currently in their home base of the United States, but will be back to bolster the Cambodian challenge with a notable addition. Panhara and Vetu will be accompanied by their eldest tennis playing brother Thalkun.
The TFC will also be seizing this opportunity to train a few who have been showing the aptitude to serve as officials, including a couple of line judges, whose work during the 2011 events came in for appreciation.
Nearly two dozen boys and girls from Kep orphanages currently undergoing training will spend a week watching the last of the three Futures events.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]