Cambodia proud to host international tennis event

Cambodian representative Phors Ratanak returns a serve during a recent practice session. - SUPPLIED

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): In a momentous event for Cambodian tennis, the kingdom is set to host the inaugural International Tennis Federation (ITF) Asian U14 Junior Championships.

Scheduled from Sept 4 to 8, the tournament will welcome the finest young tennis talents from across Asia to compete at the Morodok Techo National Stadium Tennis Centre in Phnom Penh.

The event will be overseen by two notable figures in Cambodian tennis: Som Chhinda, a 2023 SEA Games Bronze medallist, and Chea Poeuv, a former national player and coach. Their combined expertise and dedication to the sport promise an unforgettable tournament.

“This will be the first time Cambodia has hosted an event of this magnitude. We are inviting the top-ranked players from across the region,” said Chhinda, who has been named tournament director.

The kingdom’s hosting of this major international competition follows the successful organisation of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th Asean Para Games.

Tennis Cambodia was selected by both the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) to host the event.

The ITF Asian 14U Junior Championships will feature 48 players (24 boys, 24 girls). The players have been selected through a combination of Grade A tournaments, ATF rankings and wildcard entries.

Cambodia has been granted two wildcard spots, affording local talent the opportunity to represent their nation on the international stage.

The format includes both singles and doubles draws of 32 and 16, respectively. The event will build upon Tennis Cambodia’s history of hosting competitions at various levels, and highlights the nation’s commitment to developing tennis from grassroots to professional levels.

“It is an immense honour and privilege for Cambodia to continue to showcase the highest competitive level of tennis in the Southeast and overall Asian region,” said Chhinda.

More than 10 countries from the Asian region, including India, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, among others, have received invitations, based on their players’ rankings and past performances in Grade A tournaments.

The top junior players aged 14 and under were invited on behalf of the ATF.

The two Cambodian representatives, Phors Ratanak from Kep and Pov Virak from Phnom Penh, exemplify the federation’s commitment to nurturing local talent.

“I believe they have the potential to excel in the Asian tournament. The federation has enlisted a French coach to train them,” said Chea Poeuv, deputy secretary-general of the tennis federation.

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