For the first time, Tennis Cambodia has not only moved the National Junior Championships away from Phnom Penh but has also opted for a change of surface to clay so that emerging players can cope with a different environment and playing conditions other than the normal hard courts they are so used to at the National Tennis Centre or Olympic Stadium courts.
The inaugural clay court championships will be held under the supervision of Australian Scott Windus, who runs the federation’s northwestern operations, in Siem Reap’s International Christian Foundation’s (ICF) four-court complex over this weekend.
Unlike the national juniors held in Phnom Penh, where the top three players among both boys and girls were invited to play in their respective age categories, the clay court nationals have been thrown open to all juniors who wish to take part.
With this marking the first ever national clay court event, it will be interesting to see top players from Phnom Penh, who are so used to the hard courts, competing with the top local Siem Reap players who have grown up on clay.
Sponsoring the tournament is BSP Finance (Cambodia) Plc, who have been a partner of Tennis Cambodia’s Provincial Grassroots Initiatives since their launch in January. BSP Finance is a subsidiary of the Bank of South Pacific Limited. Executives of the subsidiary branch will also be present for the event to watch the action.
“It’s great that to have BSP Finance on board as they are very hands-on. They will be present for our first national tournament outside of Phnom Penh to see the growth of our tennis in the provinces, and we are happy to have them,” said Tennis Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit. “We couldn’t ask for anything more than a partner who actually wants to be involved, be there firsthand, meet the kids, and truly be a part of our tennis cause.”
According to Scott Windus, the ICF, a large Swiss-supported supported church in Siem Reap, has developed a large sports hub over the past three years.
The hub consists of a large swimming pool with a diving board and a ropes course, a covered basketball court, a football pitch, brand new internationalstandard beach volleyball courts – and now four red clay tennis courts.