Cambodia’s tennis dynamic is set for a shift towards building a strong second line following a decision by non-playing captain Tep Rithivit and national head coach Braen Aneiros that it was time for the younger generation to take over the torch from seasoned campaigners like Bun Kenny, who has pivoted the Kingdom’s Davis Cup efforts over the past six years.
Cambodia suffered their second rubberless defeat in the ongoing Asia/ Oceania Group III series against a strong Vietnam line-up at the My Dinh Sports Complex Indoor Arena on Wednesday night.
Captain Rithivit left Kenny out of singles nominations after he had reportedly displayed an attitude that did not go well with team management in his loss in a near three-hour battle with Malaysia’s Christian Didier Chin the previous night.
Having taken serious note of rude remarks Kenny had made during a change-over, the camp was clearly upset, and the eventual loss of that very close encounter added to the sombre mood, leading the player who has played 27 matches for the country over the past six years to be sidelined against Vietnam.
In all, Vietnam took just under 100 minutes to wrap up the singles rubbers and then went on to claim the doubles for a 3-0 sweep.
Cambodia’s Delton Sophana Kim was no match for Linh Giang Trinh, who conceded just one game in a 6-0, 6-1 rout in 48 minutes.
In just about the same length of time, Hoang Nam Ly dismissed Long Samneang 6-1, 6-1.
Vietnam pair Minhtuan Pham and Le Khanh Quoc got past Delton Kim and Phalkun Mam 6-1, 6-4.
‘Tennis Cambodia bigger than any player’
“We will play with Delton and Samneang again in Thursday night’s tie against Pacific Oceania. I think it is a good opportunity for them to get some tough matchplay and be ready for the crucial relegation playoff we have to fight on Saturday,” coach Aneiros told The Post.
“They are the ones to take the torch of this team after Kenny and Phalkun.
“More important than the result against Pacific Oceania today, I would like these players to play at a good level and improve from the previous matches,” the former Panamanian Davis Cupper added.
No matter the outcome of the tie against Pacific Oceania, Cambodia will have to fight a relegation playoff against a team from Group B yet to be identified.
Captain Rithivit, reflecting on the issues relating to Kenny during the singles rubber against Malaysia on Tuesday, said he was devastated when players put self interest before the federation and the team.
“Tennis Cambodia is much bigger than any one player,” Rithivit said, implying that discipline on and off the court was more important to him than reputation.