PHUKET, THAILAND – Asian women’s tennis has received a major boost following the announcement that Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club (TSLC) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will host the Chang International Tennis Federation (ITF) Pro Circuit women’s event from March 17th to April 1st, 2012, with total prize money of USD 25,000.
This prestigious international women’s tennis tournament is sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, TSLC, ITF and Chang and looks set to become one of the region’s key events for the women’s pro circuit, given Phuket’s heady mix of sun, surf and excitement plus TSLC’s world class facilities.
TSLC, which boasts six state-of-the-art covered and floodlit Plexicushion tennis courts – the same surface used at the recent Australian Open – and stadium seating for a crowd of over 600 people just 15 minutes’ drive from Phuket International Airport, is ideally equipped and located to host a tournament of this calibre.
“We couldn’t be happier following the decision to hold the event at Thanyapura,” said Thanyapura Group President Robert Hauck. “The Thanyapura vision has always been to create world-class facilities in paradise, believing that if we build it, they will come. Well, now the ITF has come, and I believe this is just the beginning of a relationship that will go from strength to strength.
“In the future, given our facilities and the allure of Phuket, this could well become one of the biggest tournaments on the women’s calendar. It will have great flow on effects for Phuket as a whole in terms of visitors and sports tourism, and it will also give Thanyapura’s own Tennis Academy a great chance to groom its own stars of the future and introduce them to the big stage. I also believe that Thanyapura has the potential to become a major training base for world class players, given its climate, accessibility and lifestyle.”
The tournament will comprise a main draw of 32 ranked players, with another 32 selected through qualification rounds. Aspiring stars of tomorrow from all over the world have already signed up for the event. Thailand’s Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, who won the union (junior??) singles title at Wimbledon in 2009, is currently ranked 179th in the world. She is the only Thai to make the 32 main draw places.
Other key players who will take to the Thanyapura courts include world number 138 Erika Sema and world number 144 Kurumi Nara, both from Japan, as well as Peka Luca Jani from Hungary (#155), Julia Cohen from the US (#158), Claire Feverstein of France (#163) and Sarah Gronert of Germany (#175)
This will be Thanyapura’s second step into the world tennis limelight. TSLC also hosted the Chang ITF Thailand Pro Circuit 2011 men’s tennis tournament last October and November, to great acclaim. This plus the latest awarding of a professional ITF tournament to the TSLC’s Tennis Academy gives the TSLC’s newly opened, first-class facilities a resounding vote of confidence, building on its position as a leading sports facility in Asia.
A TAT spokesperson said the organisation was proud to be supporting such a prestigious event as it was a key goal of the TAT’s to promote sports-related tourism – and this was a perfect vehicle to draw international attention to the destination and its impressive facilities.
“TSLC offers us a great opportunity to attract more and more high profile sporting events to the island and with its location so close to Phuket International Airport it is very convenient. We hope players, coaches and families will have the chance to experience Phuket as a holiday destination before they return home.”
ITF added that it was looking forward to building a long-term relationship with TSLC and other sponsors as it developed the sport in the region and new players joined the tour.
“I am sure the event will be a great success and I am sure everyone is looking forward to a competitive tournament coming to such a fantastic destination.”
TSLC’s first Thanyapura Tennis Challenge tournament is further evidence of its commitment to the sport in Thailand. The club also recently announced an exciting partnership with the world’s leading professional tennis management group, Peter Burwash International (PBI).
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