Fed Cup tennis comes to Phuket

PATONG: A 4,000-seat tennis court will be built in Patong so that Phuket can host one of the Group II quarterfinals of the premier international women’s tennis competition, the Federation Cup, between Thailand and Croatia, on April 23 and 24.

The Federation Cup is an annual team tennis competition. After round-robin play last year between 88 countries, 16 teams have won places in the quarterfinals, eight playing in Group I and the other eight in Group II.

Thailand and Croatia are in Group II of the contest, along with Switzerland, the Slovak Republic, Germany, Indonesia, the Czech Republic and Japan. In 22 years of competing in the cup, this is the first time that Thailand has made it into the final 16.

Thai players Tamarine Tanasugarn, Napaporn Tongsalee, Suchanun Viratprasert and Monthinee Tangpong, are due to compete against Ivana Abramovic, Ivana Lisjak, Jelena Kostanic, Matea Mezak and Darija Jurak.

Thailand won all its matches in preliminary rounds, beating China, the Philippines, New Zealand, India and Australia to take a place in the final eight of the competition’s Group II.

Under the complex rules of the Fed Cup, as it is known, Croatia played only two preliminary tournaments to go into the Group II quarter-finals. The Croatians beat Brazil, but lost to Belgium.

The Patong tournament promises to be close; Croatia is currently ranked 13th overall in the Feb Cup rankings, just one place ahead of Thailand.

It had been suggested that the matches be played on a temporary court built on Patong’s Loma Park soccer pitch, but authorities decided instead to build the 60-by-80-meter hard court on spare land near the pitch.

Songsak Kitakarnkul, Chief of the Phuket office of the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), told the Gazette that construction of the court would start on April 4 and should be completed in two weeks.

It has not yet been decided whether the court will be permanent or whether it will be removed after the tournament.

He said that the court itself would cost around 700,000 baht to create, and the seating area around 4,000 baht, but the total budget for staging the event will be around eight million baht.

K. Songsak said it was hoped the tournament will help in the recovery of tourism, and could lead to more such events being held here.

“This could be Phuket’s chance to show it is capable of hosting big [tennis] events, such as the Thailand Open,” he said.

The matches in Patong will take place between 10 am and 6 pm on both days. Organizers have yet to decide whether there will be an admission charge for spectators. For more information contact the SAT, Phuket, at Tel: 076-250110.

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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