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French Open: Powerful pair

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French Open: Powerful pair | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: When Serena Williams powered down three aces in the final game to beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 at Stade Roland Garros, she cemented her already legendary status in the game. The oldest winner – at 31 – of a Grand Slam in the modern era, the victory was, coincidentally, her 31st straight success. She has now won every Major at least twice, and is not only the current world number one, but arguably the greatest female player of all time.

And this despite a career-threatening injury to her foot, a rare blood disease, a game better suited to the faster surfaces of other major tournaments and a fragile temperament. After her win she confessed: “At that point [the final game] I was just so nervous [thinking] I’m not going to be able to hit ground strokes.”

Maria Sharapova will have taken scant consolation from that post-match confession, as she wondered how she could stem the incessant stream of winners.

The twenty-six-year-old Russian hits her ground strokes with almost equivalent ferocity, but her own serve, which cracks under pressure, lacks penetration, and her lack of mobility around the court was ruthlessly exposed by the panther-like Williams. Afterwards, she mused: “You know she’s going to be able to hit a big serve. If I was built like Serena, I hope I’d be able to serve like that too.”

The French Open usually produces its share of upsets, and this year, with blustery conditions and shifts of temperature, proved no exception. In the men’s draw, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga beat Roger Federer to raise Gallic hopes of a first French winner in the Open Era, but he then succumbed meekly to Spain’s David Ferrer, whose consistency off the ground and terrier-like ability to retrieve, have propelled him into the top echelons of the sport.

But the final was in many people’s minds played out in the first semi – between the two best players in the world. Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic would have almost certainly have contested an epic final, but were denied by a quirk of seeding: instead they contested the match of the tournament two days earlier. Nadal, eventually triumphed after four hours and 37 minutes of fluctuating drama, taking the fifth set 9-7. Nadal has lost just once in 60 matches on the red clay of Roland Garros, a feat unlikely ever to be matched.

That left Ferrer to confront his nemesis in his first ever Grand Slam final (his record against Nadal is 4 wins from 23 matches). He played with great heart and was, as always, remarkably consistent off the ground. But Nadal was in imperious mood, seemingly hitting the lines at will, and ignoring the rainy conditions and interruptions from protesters. He duly completed a straight sets win (6-3, 6-2, 6-3). His eighth French Open title. Yet another record. Like Serena Williams, his claims to sporting greatness are indisputable.

Ferrer was philosophical in defeat, admitting: “He has more power than me with his shots”, adding, “I need to play more aggressive … to finish more points at the net.” Easier said than done.

Wimbledon now awaits – with only Novak Djokovic likely to stand in the way of the rampant Rafael Nadal.

— Patrick Campbell

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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results

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Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People arriving Phuket from the “highest risk” areas are required to take a swab test by the staff at emergency operation centres (EOC) or show the test result document endorsed by the EOC staff made within 72 hours of their arrival. The revised order is effective from now until January 31, according to the Phuket Governor.

Those people who are on a brief business trip to Phuket need to show certificates from their employers describing the reason and necessity of their trips. If they want to leave their accommodations, they have to make a request to the EOC and clearly explain the reason as well as the time and destination. Visitors are also asked to avoid going to the community areas to avoid crowded gatherings.

It is noted that the revised order by the governor has not been officially promoted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. However, all visitors are still asked to register online via the Mor Chana contact tracing application and via www.gophuget.com according to the order re-issued on Friday.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint

The Thaiger

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The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | The Thaiger

There are two well known ways to get from Kathu to Kalim or Kamala – one is across the Patong Hill, and the other is much longer, through Srisoonthorn and along the coastal road from Surin the Kamala (very scenic too).

But there’s also another way. Also very scenic but will take you about 2 hours through dense forest although there is a well-worn walking track. The track will take you from Kathu up to the Kalim Viewpoint. From here you can head back to Kathu along a different path, or down into Kalim, near Patong.

Starting about halfway down Soi Namtok in Kathu, you head up a nondescript road past the Flying Hanuman zipline attraction, although there’s no sign at the entrance to the soi (below). About the first kilometre is paved but then becomes increasingly ‘agricultural’ as you get higher into the hills, heading towards the Kalim Viewpoint. There’s also a small temple on the way up.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The start of the trek, a small soi off Soi Namtok – Google Maps

It will take around 2 hours to trek up to the Kalim Viewpoint. The walking is quite strenuous and you’ll need to be wearing the right shoes and take plenty of water – there’s no 7/11s on the way! As you get nearer the top, to the viewpoint, the track becomes less drivable although the track is still quite open and easy to follow. If you’re feeling a bit lazy you can take a motorbike about halfway up the road until you’ll need to proceed on foot from there.

From the Kalim Viewpoint you can see across Kalim to Patong Bay and the land that stretches along the bay south of Patong Beach. From the top you can either make your way down to Kalim or another exit along the Kalim-Kamala Road, just near the Iguana Beach Club.

You can also head back another way to Kathu, a longer return track that skirts around the top of the Kathu Waterfall. A lot of that track gets very narrow and parts of it are up and down the hills, some of it very steep.

The views are amazing and you get to see a vast swathe of Phuket, still very close to popular locations like Patong, Kamala and Kathu, but untouched by any civilisation.

You’ll need to be in reasonable health to take on the trip but, just to go up to the Kalim Viewpoint and back, or down into Kalim, should take around 5 hours in total. On a scale of 1 – 5 for difficulty, we’d rate it a 3. An easy trek for experienced people but will need a bit of planning if you’re not an experienced trekker.

Even on a hazy day, as it was today, the views were amazing. But best to start off early morning when the weather is cooler. Well worth the time for the views and the opportunity to see more of Phuket, away from the bars and beaches.

Thanks to BT for the pics and information.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The ThaigerThe road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Police say Phuket school won’t be charged for employing foreign teachers without a work permit

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police say Phuket school won’t be charged for employing foreign teachers without a work permit | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

An international school in Phuket is not facing charges for employing foreign teachers without a work permit, police told the Phuket News. Back in November, 2 British nationals were arrested at the Palm House International School in Rawai in a raid by Phuket Immigration officers, acting on a tip that teachers were working at the school without a work permit.

The case was handed over to the Chalong Police. The department was also requested to investigate the school for suspected illegal hiring practices. When pressed by Phuket News reporters, the Chalong Police Chief Sarawut Chuprasit said the school officials are not facing any charges for employing the teachers illegally, without a work permit, and referred reporters to the provincial prosecutor.

“I have no reason to press any charge against the school at all. It is not right to accuse the school.”

Many schools in Thailand, especially international schools, obtain work permits for foreign teachers and even pay the fees. It’s also fairly common for foreign teachers to work without the proper documents, especially during the pandemic where travel restrictions make border runs nearly impossible.

Phuket News say police will not release the names of the 2 British teachers and will not give any additional information. They add that the provincial prosecutor’s office will also not release information without a police case number or suspects’ names. In a previous report, Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief also declined to identify the British nationals by name or age.

“Their visa status does not allow them to work or perform any form of business. They were arrested as they are suspected of working without a work permit.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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