PHUKET: Phuket local James Van Herzeele, 12, dominated his age group in both singles and doubles categories at the Annual King’s Cup in Bangkok, a tournament held by the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand.
“When I played the championship point I felt so happy and relieved that I could achieve my goal to win this most important tournament of the year,” James said.
“To be ready for this tournament, I had very hard weeks of training sessions at Thanyapura with my Coach Timo from Bangkok and Coach Ball from Thanyapura.”
Most of the half-Belgian, half-Thai’s training is done at Thanyapura with his father, Dominique Van Herzeele, overseeing the coaching. However, James also receives instruction from Coach Timo Sivapruksa, the head of the Spin & Slice Tennis School in Bangkok.
Thanyapura PIA recently announced that it was going to take its Tennis Academy to the next level with the new coaching program by Spin & Slice in July.
“Our aim is to bring tennis in Phuket and in Thailand to the next level with the new coaching direction from Spin & Slice Academy and the expansion of the courts to 10 from the current six,” said Philipp Graf von Hardenberg, president and CEO of Thanyapura Phuket.
With 10 years of experience behind them, Spin & Slice has already demonstrated the ability to produce top-ranked junior players who compete in both national and ITF tournaments, Thanyapura noted in a press release.
“We are very happy and proud of James for winning the Thai National tennis championships. He worked very hard for this and nothing is for free,” Mr Van Herzeele said. “There were many hours of training per week – suffering on the court, sometimes tears during a training session, or satisfaction after a good training session.
“To achieve this mindset the environment he is working in is crucial. Both at school and on the tennis court, you need to be surrounded by professional, motivated and passionate people who want to get the best out of you. With Timo and Ball he can find a good balance between hard work and having fun on the court.”
With these developments, Phuket is set to become the hotbed of tennis excellence. James may just be the first of many budding tennis champions to come from the pearl of the Andaman Sea, Thanyapura notes.
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