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Curtains rise for ITF Futures

ITF referee Puneet Gupta of India, GLF deputy chief executive officer Yusuke Kozuma, secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithivit and tournament director and national coach Braen Aneiros attend a news conference in Phnom Penh on Friday.
ITF referee Puneet Gupta of India, GLF deputy chief executive officer Yusuke Kozuma, secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithivit and tournament director and national coach Braen Aneiros attend a news conference in Phnom Penh on Friday. Sreng Meng Srun

Curtains rise for ITF Futures

Cambodia's highly visible and rapidly expanding hire purchase and vehicle finance company Group Lease Finance Plc has once again teamed up with Tennis Cambodia as the main sponsors of all the three legs of the $10,000 ITF Futures to be held at the National Training Center from today through December 12.

The three event package will be spread over three weeks with the main draw matches beginning each Monday, leading to the final on Saturday.

The first leg has been presented as the GLF Open, the second is a tribute to Cambodia’s late tennis legend Tep Khunah as his memorial and the third shines the light on the great contribution towards the development of the game made by current Minister for Industry and Handicrafts Cham Prasidh, who has led the Federation since its revival in the mid-1990s.

The Cambodian series assumes added significance since it is the cut-off point for all those aspiring to earn valuable ATP points to improve their chances of getting into the qualification stage of next year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

The tennis savvy GLF had played a significant role as co-sponsors of the National team in the last three Davis Cup campaigns in Dubai, Iran and Malaysia and remains one of the solid pillars of support for Tennis Cambodia.

Led by its charismatic chairman Mitsuji Konoshita, a former Japanese tennis pro turned business magnate and a well renowned sports benefactor, GLF has carved out a unique niche as the Federation’s prime partner.

“I am delighted to be part of an ever growing Tennis Cambodia that has taken organisational excellence to a level that had seemed improbable five years ago”, Mitsuji Konoshita told the Post in an exclusive communication yesterday.

“There is no better catalyst than the ITF Futures to open up career opportunities for aspiring professionals,” said the GLF chairman, whose grand vision is to create an international tennis academy in the next few years.

Meanwhile, addressing a news conference at the Cambodian Country Club on Friday, Yusuke Kozuma, deputy chief executive officer of GLF, deputising for Mitsuji Konoshita, said: “Cambodia is sitting on a wealth of youth potential and events like the Futures can inspire a whole lot of them.”

“Our chairman is a great tennis lover. He set out as a tennis pro in his youth. But he couldn’t succeed. Now he has an opportunity as a successful businessman to create a platform for the present generation to get big,” Yusuke Kozuma pointed out.

“We are delighted to have GLF and Mitsuji Konoshita on board again in such a huge measure for these very significant international events.” said Tennis Cambodia’s secretary-general Tep Rithivit.

“Ever since GLF moved into our family fold, the bond between us has grown stronger and I am confident this enduring partnership will elevate tennis to new heights in the coming years.

Great support like the one extended to us by GLF is what drives great success,” said Tep Rithivit

“This year it is special for me and my family. We mark the 20th anniversary of my father’s memorial tournament. I am also happy that the Futures series we brought to the Kingdom in 2011 is getting bigger and better while gaining popularity on the tour,” he said.

Meanwhile, for the first time Cambodia’s Davis Cup pivot, Bun Kenny, who had played in the main draw of each and every event since 2011, will not be taking part this year. He is back in France undergoing treatment for a shoulder strain that has bothered him in recent months.

Many of the national players will get wild cards for either the qualifiers or the main draw during the three weeks. Phalkun Mam is likely to concentrate on the doubles while keeping the singles options open.

Phalkun’s younger brother Vetu, who was part of Cambodia’s historic Davis Cup Group IV debut in Doha back in 2012, will make a trip from the United States to play in the third week, the Cham Prasidh Open.

India’s Puneet Gupta returns to his fourth year of duty to Cambodia as the ITF referee. He will be assisted by a team of five chair umpires, two from Vietnam and one each from India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.


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