The International Tennis Federation has moved this year’s April 2-7 Asia/Oceania Group III Davis Cup competition to the My Dinh Sports complex indoor facility in Hanoi from the originally announced Pho Tho Tennis Club outdoor hard courts in Ho Chi Minh City.
No official reason has been assigned by either the ITF or hosts Vietnam Tennis Federation for the change of venue but it is gathered from informed sources that a double booking at Pho Tho and a few issues with the resurfacing of the courts there may have led to the indoor choice, which is is quite uncommon at this tier of Davis Cup.
As Cambodia begins its preparations for the Vietnam trip in earnest, the prospect of playing indoors has come as a big surprise as all the Kingdom’s previous campaigns from 2012 have been on hard courts outdoors, with
the diversity of red clay thrown in twice in Iran.
But in the true never-give-in spirit of the Davis Cup, the Cambodian national team’s non-playing captain Tep Rithvit declared: “We have no concerns at all about on what surface or where we play. We are determined to do our best and climb up to Group II.”
The non-playing captain himself is no stranger to indoor tennis as he spent most of his junior tennis days in Canada and has no qualms about handling the challenges he or his players may have to deal with.
The team dynamic is unlikely to be impacted since at least three members of the squad, Bun Kenny, Phalkun Mam and Delton Sophana Kim, who has been recalled to the team, have had indoor experience behind them.
Both Kenny and Delton spent their formative years in France, while Phalkun’s college tennis days were in the United States. The only exception is Long Samneang, who has played all his career outdoors.
National team coach Braen Aneiros is confident that Samneang will be able to handle this shift. But the only concern for the Cuban-born former Panamanian Davis Cupper, who has been at the helm of affairs in Cambodia since 2009, is whether the courts play slower or faster.
“I think it would be better for our players if the surface plays slower. But overall I am certain our players can be as comfortable as they are on the normal hard courts,” said Aneiros,who suggested that reaching Hanoi a few days early and getting a feel of the courts would greatly help.
Meanwhile, Rithivit confirmed to The Post that Delton, who has improved his junior ranking in France since he last represented Cambodia two years ago, will join training with the other members of the squad here in Phnom Penh during the second week of March.