Monday, 22 October 2012

Celebrity event is here to stay

THE CEO and Celebrity Charity Tennis event will continue to sparkle for years to come.

The tournament was assured of a bright future after the LTA of Malaysia (LTAM), which has been supporting the CEO and Celebrity Charity Tennis since 2008, pledged its continued support.

The national association will be the official venue provider and also offer technical expertise to make the event a success again on Dec 9.

The tournament will be held at the National Tennis Centre (NTC) in Jalan Duta, the home of LTAM, which will also provide umpires, linesmen and ball boys for the tournament.

The annual event, aimed at raising money for the NSTP Charity Fund, was inaugurated in 2008 and is making a return after a one-year lapse.

LTAM secretary Ibrahim Abu Bakar said the event will not only bring CEOs and celebrities together but also inspire the younger generation to take up the sport.

"We have been supporting the CEO and Celebrity Charity Tennis from the beginning and it is also nice for the event to make a comeback," said Ibrahim.

"The involvement of the CEOs should also attract children to take up the sport seriously. Not only can they grow up to become good tennis players but also emulate the CEOs by becoming equally successful in the business world.

"We will be providing 11 courts for the event as there will be 44 players competing in the doubles and if there are more, we can use the adjacent NSC courts.

"We also hope that a good turnout will achieve the target of raising money for the NSTP charity fund."

The CEO and Celebrity Charity Tennis event raised RM61,160 in 2010, and NSTP Corporate Communication head Wan Abdillah Wan Nawi expects a similar amount or better to be collected this time.

Each player will have to contribute a minimum of RM1,000 as participation fee while companies wanting to become corporate donors must purse RM5,000 to have their logos in the tournament's publicity material.

The players will play five doubles matches each with different partners. Those who get the most points will be declared winners.

The NSTP has also had a new tie-up with eCEOs Sdn Bhd as the joint-partner for the charity event. -

SLTA support promotion of wheelchair tennis

KUCHING: The Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) will render its full support to promote wheelchair tennis in the state.

SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew said yesterday that the association is very willing to assist the physically handicapped people (orang kurang upaya – OKU) to learn and play tennis.

“When Wheelchair Tennis Malaysia brought up this idea about seven or eight years ago to extend wheelchair tennis to Sarawak, SLTA was not ready to accept the idea as it was lacking facilities to accommodate the OKU.

Now that our facilities have improved over the years, we are now ready to extend a helping hand to develop wheelchair tennis here and we shall be working very closely with WTM and the Youth and Sports Department, Sarawak towards this aim,” said Liew after presenting the prizes to the winners of the inaugural Wheelchair Tennis Clinic and Competition at SLTA tennis centre.

He said SLTA would be making a few improvisations such as building ramps to make its tennis facilities more user-friendly to wheelchair tennis players.

“We can also provide the storage facility for their equipment and wheelchairs,” he added.

Liew hoped that wheelchair tennis can become a big thing in Sarawak with the support from the Youth and Sports Department, Sarawak in terms of financial support and expertise.

The department’s acting director Razali Mohamad hoped that more such clinic cum competition can be organised to increase the awareness of the OKU and the community on wheelchair tennis.

“We are also hoping that through this kind of programme that we can produce players who can represent the state at national competitions and even play for the country at international competitions,” he said.

He extended his gratitude to WTM for bringing in instructors and coaches to conduct the clinic cum competition for 14 participants in the two-day programme that ended yesterday.

“I can see from this competition there are one or two potential players who can be groomed to play in national meets and we are selecting four to five players for training,” added Razali.

He said the department will be contributing four wheelchairs for the purpose while WTM has sponsored four racquets and a bucket of soft balls and SLTA, the facilities for training.

Meanwhile, WTM assistant secretary Mohamad Roslan Jajuli said he was happy with the response to the programme and the enthusiasm of the participants.

“It is very fortunate that we have a solid organisation like SLTA to help us promote wheelchair tennis here,” he said.

He also proposed that SLTA accept OKU as its members so that they can enjoy the excellent tennis facilities at the tennis centre.

“I shall be submitting a report to our president Dato Zainal Mohd Ali and maybe we can plan to include Sarawak as a venue for one of the circuits of the Malaysian Open next year,” he said.

Roslan also thanked SLTA, the Youth and Sports Department, Sarawak, volunteers and all those who had in one way or another contributed to the success of the programme.

In the clinic cum competition, Roslan Sebli emerged the champion while Diau Tinggom finished second, Duin Kuini and Jap Sun Hung third and fourth respectively.

Other players Kian Tungku, Yusuf Dewa, Seman Sain, Jimmy Siang, Junaidi Fuzan, Elizabeth Alynis Sumor, Peter Wong, Ani Nios and Hasan Sup all received consolation prizes and a certificate of participation.

The prizes were in the form of hampers.-

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

CEO & Celebrity Tennis is back

THE big names from the corporate world as well as  celebrities will sweat it out for a good cause at the CEO and  Celebrity Charity Tennis, scheduled on Dec 9, at the National  Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) announced yesterday  a new tie-up with eCEOs Sdn Bhd as joint partners of the 44- player competition.
The tournament is aimed to raise money for the NSTP
Charity Fund.
Incepted in 2008, the tournament is making its return after  a one-year lapse.
Players will play five doubles matches each with different  partners and those, who accumulate the most points will be  declared the winners.
Each player will have to contribute a minimum of RM1,000  as participation fees while companies wanting to become   corporate donors must purse RM5,000 to have its logos in the  tournament’s publicity materials.
eCEOs chief executive officer Jailani Mustafa said his  company is honoured to be joint partners of the charity  tournament.
“It is part of our corporate social responsibility programme  to support charity events,” said Jailani at Balai Berita  yesterday.
Jailani, 45, did not fair well in the 2009 and 2010 editions  but hopes for a stronger performance this time.
“It wasn’t easy then as most players were very good and  competitive,” said Jailani, who started playing tennis at 12.
New Straits Times managing editor Datuk Nuraini Samad  and Corporate Communication head Wan Abdillah Wan Nawi  were present at the event.
Wan Abdillah said well-known celebrities including actors  and singers will be invited to compete for honours.
“We had celebrities before who upset the form book.  Football pundit and former international Abbas Saad (picture) was  among those who did well previously.
“We will make an announcement once entries are con firmed,” said Wan Abdillah.

PLTP tuan rumah Tenis Junior Dunia ITF

PERSATUAN Lawn Tenis Perak (PLTP) sekali lagi diberi penghormatan menjadi tuan rumah Kejohanan Tenis Junior Dunia ITF Gred 4 berlangsung di Kompleks Tenis Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) pada 20 hingga 27 Oktober ini.
Setiausaha PLTP, Lee Kam Boon berkata lebih 120 pemain mendaftar untuk menyertai kejohanan dalam usaha mengutip mata bagi memperbaiki ranking masing-masing.
Kam Boon berkata peserta dari Jepun, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Rusia, China, Singapura, Taiwan serta tuan rumah, Malaysia menyertai kejohanan yang mempertandingkan acara perseorangan dan beregu lelaki dan perempuan itu.
Katanya, pemain utama remaja negara, Ahmad Deedat Abdul Razak mengetuai cabaran 13 pemain negara dalam acara perseorangan.
Berdasarkan kedudukan semasa, Deedat yang menduduki ranking 607 adalah pilihan keeempat kejohanan di belakang Sahil Deshmukh dari India, Nuradim Ramdani (Indonesia) dan Gregor Schoefberger (Austria).
Menurut Kam Boo lagi, 48 pemain menyertai acara perseorangan lelaki manakala 32 perseorangan perempuan. sementara beregu lelaki 24 dan perempuan 16.-

Tennis development in Sarawak impressive

THE RIGHT WAY: Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) development officer Taisto Sikkonen (left) in action while he conducts the LTAM Tennis 10s programme recently

KUCHING: The Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) Tennis 10s programme which was held at the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) grounds was concluded successfully recently.
The programme, which was adopted from the International Tennis Federation (ITF)’s “Play and Stay” programme, was conducted by LTAM development officer Taisto Sikkonen. It was to basically introduce tennis to young kids and let them have a choice of taking up what sports they want.

“I am very impressed with the development of tennis here in Sarawak. I am also glad to have a passionate and enthusiastic group of people attending this programme today,” he said.

For the record, it will be mandatory for tennis competitions and players aged 10-and-Under to be played with slower red, orange and green balls on the appropriate sized courts, while the traditional yellow ball will no longer be permitted for 10-and-under competition.

“This will be the ticket to strengthening and developing SLTA’s already strong junior development programme. In this format, tennis is at its easiest to learn, its inexpensive, can be played on a wide variety of surfaces so we can target an even greater number of kids and get them into the sport as fast as possible.

“We will continue to promote tennis in Sarawak, especially among the younger generation. For our junior development, we are targeting the schools here as part of our programme,” informed SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew.

Liew continued that he was impressed with the participants especially the trainees from the Samarahan Teachers Training College as they have shown great enthusiasm. They have also requested to become volunteers to help SLTA in any of their future competition and events.

“We welcome their participation in helping us out. They have also been briefed on the career prospects not only in playing tennis, but umpiring in tennis as well,” he added.

With the aim to bring more youngsters into the sport, the programme can help them experience relative success rather quickly and make the game as interesting and attractive as possible to them at a young age. Starter players play the game outright from their first lesson.

Renowned players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin, as well as tennis equipment manufacturers have shown support for the campaign. It is supported by the top ITF nations too. -

PTBS to promote tennis aggresively

KUCHING: The Sarawak Bumiputera Tennis Association (PTBS) have announced that they will be promoting tennis aggressively to the Bumiputera community after the success of Sarawak-born national players Mohd Assri Merzuki and Muhammad Aiman Hamdan.

The association is planning to organise more tournaments to unearth new talents and is set to launch their website this Oct 21 to further boost tennis development in the state.

“PTBS have so far produced a number of renowned players including Mohd Assri Merzuki. After seeing the success of Mohd Assri, we were motivated to organise more tournaments and create a website to promote our association and development of tennis in the state. We want to promote tennis more among the Bumiputera community,” informed PTBS official Ismail Abdullah.

Current Kuching age-group champion Muhammad Aiman Hamdan is also one of the products of PTBS youth development programme.

He participated against a few of the world’s best U-14 players at the ITF Asian U-14 tournament which was held here recently.

“He is one the best young players in the state and we are glad that he has decided to compete in the tournament. Apart from Mohd Assri Merzuki who is one of the country’s finest, Muhammad Aiman is also a product of our youth programme,” said Ismail.

After the recent success of the Inter-community Tennis Tournament last month, PTBS will be organising a two-day tennis tournament from Oct 20 to 21.

“The tournament will be called the ‘YB Datuk Fadillah Yusof Cup’ and is dedicated to the current Petra Jaya Member of Parliament.

“The tournament features some of the state’s finest Bumiputera tennis players. This includes Muhammad Aiman. It is open to all those who are of Sarawak Bumiputera community background,” informed Ismail.

The tournament, which will be held at the PTBS grounds/headquarters at Petra Jaya, is divided into two categories – the U-18 and above 18-years-old categories. It will be contested in a team event format.

In another development, Ismail added that the association is in the process to get more female Bumiputera players to participate in their competitions.

“We do realise there is a lack of participation from female Bumiputeras in tennis. Therefore, we are committed to unearth more female tennis players and we hope to do so in this tournament.

“All female players will be playing in the mixed-doubles in their respective age categories in the tournament,” he said.

Apart from the tournament itself, PTBS will hold a dinner cum prize-giving ceremony on the evening of the last day of the tournament (Oct 21).

“It will be called ‘Malam Mesra Bersama Warga PTBS’. Some of the association’s prominent members including Datuk Effendi Tahir and other community leaders are expected to attend the ceremony.

“The ceremony will also see the launch of the new PTBS website. PTBS would like to thank all of the sponsors of the event especially DiGi Telecommunications,” added Ismail.-

Saturday, 6 October 2012

20th ITF Junior tennis c’ship (Grade 3) from Oct 30 to Nov 4

KUCHING: Four Sarawakians are among the 15 local juniors competing in the 20th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup (II) ITF junior tennis championship (Grade 3) to be held at Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) tennis centre from Oct 30 to Nov 4.

Aslina Chua is the only Malaysian playing in the main draw of the girls’ singles while Choo Lyn Yuen, Low Zhe Han and Chang Tun Sien are playing in the qualifier that starts on Oct 29.

Choo will also be joined by compatriots Ti Jia Wei, Nurin Nabilah Roslan and Alyssa Boey in the qualifier.

Looking to qualify for the boys’ singles main draw are Tan Zu Zinyang and Benjamin Lim on the alternates list are Low Kar Win and Joshua Jordan.

The two Malaysians in the boys’ main draw are Ahmed Deedat Abdul Razak (ITF No. 609) and Colin Wong Wei Ming (ITF No. 642).

Turkey’s Cem Ilkel is the top ranked player at number 94 while his counterpart Ipek Soylu is the highest ranked girl at number 69.

“Although this is only a Grade 3 competition, it is very competitive judging from the rankings of the players, with the cut off for the boys main draw at ITF No. 642 and girls main draw at ITF No. 661,” the organising committee chairman, Dato Patrick Liew said in a press conference yesterday.

Liew who is also SLTA president, said this is the second leg of the Chief Minister’s Cup ITF Junior Tennis Championship as the first leg, a Grade 1 event, was held in March this year.

“As in the past, the championship has again attracted very good response, with 93 boys and 68 girls from 29 countries have confirmed taking part,” he said on the exciting event which has made Sarawak well known globally as a preferred destination for international junior tennis events.

He is expecting some withdrawals as players might not come for the qualifying matches as they are too lowly ranked or do not have any rankings at all.

“In this aspect, we will be using the wildcards where we as the organiser can allocate at least three to Malaysians,” said Liew.

He said apart from organising international events, SLTA is also organising local competitions such as the Sarawak Closed and Inter-Division, Kuching Age Group to unearth more young talents to groom them for future championships.

“We are also encouraging our affiliates to organise more local tournaments to give our players more opportunity to compete,” he added.

He said by getting Malaysians to play in the international competitions organised by SLTA, they would get more exposure and ready to play at a higher level of tennis.-

Tennis championship a boost to tourism industry, says Dawos

KUCHING: Sports bodies in Sarawak have been urged to emulate Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) by organising international sporting events to boost sports tourism industry in the state.

Speaking to The Borneo Post, federal Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said that he had come to his understanding that SLTA since last year had organised seven international tennis championships which had attracted competitors from 35 countries.

“So you could figure out how much revenue these international events had generated for the state’s tourism industry. The incomes are from participants’ entrance fees, hotel-stay, and souvenirs and so on,” he added.

Dawos suggested that sports association could start to tap the potential and benefits of small scale sport events as tourist attraction in Sarawak and also said that sports’ tourists could be categorised into active sport tourist and passive sport tourists.

Quoting researcher’s findings Dawos revealed that the results indicated that tourists who visited the state are those motivated to seek active sport-oriented vacations and on the other hand, passive sport tourists are motivated by social factors and the need to escape from over stimulating situations.

“The fact that sport events in Malaysia attract tourists is well established and prominent examples include the Formula One Grand Prix, Commonwealth Games, South East Asian Games, and Thomas Cup Badminton Finals.

Sports event generates diverse and heterogeneous flows of travellers that may include fans, athletes, coaches, media, team personnel, parents and family members.

Despite the significance of sports event as a form of tourist attraction, it could also promote the natural and rural beauty of Sarawak to sports tourists who might be adventurers and explorers who prefer outdoor activities, or the seeker who might be attracted to the peaceful and tranquil setting,” added Dawos.

He also has the view that sports-body needs to work with local businesses, tour operators, local hotels and restaurants so that these businesses can give a percentage of sales commission from package tours directly to the sports associations who organise the tours.

“For example, if a tour operator books a hotel in the area as accommodation for a sports tour group, a 10% sales commission could be shared among the tour operator and sports-body. And while that sport events are not just for big cities and much benefit can also be realised through small amateur sporting events similar to hosting a mega sporting event. More importantly, the small scale sports events are also an effective means of securing economic benefits in a rural community that might have limited attractiveness otherwise ,” suggested Dawos -

Lucky day for duo

FOR two young tennis players, Imran Daniel Abdul Hazli and Nurin Nabilah Roslan, the chance to take part in the recent ATP Malaysian Open coaching clinic was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Seven-year-old Imran and 14-year-old Nurin were among 16 junior players handpicked by the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) to join the clinic, which was conducted by Dutchman Igor Sijsling and Brazilian Marcelo Melo.
Daniel, ranked third in the national boys' Under-10 rankings, said: "This is the first time I've taken part in such a clinic and I can't believe how tall these players are!
"I learned quite a bit and I hope one day to become a professional player just like Sijsling and Melo'
Daniel is the son of former national player, Abdul Hazli Zainuddin, who was once ranked second behind V. Selvam.
Nurin, meanwhile, said the experience was truly life changing.
"The clinic was a real eye-opener for me. The players told us so much in that one hour," she gushed.
"I tried my best to learn as much as possible and I will certainly become a better player after this."
The coaching clinic was conducted at the tournament practice courts at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Also present at the clinic was LTAM secretary Ibrahim Abu Bakar.
Sijsling was impressed with some of the participants.
"Even though it was a short clinic, I saw some glimpses of potential from a few of the players.
It was nice to do something like this as we get to see the future of tennis," he said.
Sijsling, the World No 87, who won three Challengers this season, reached the quarter-finals in the Malaysian Open, before bowing out to top seed David Ferrer of Spain.
Melo said he enjoys conducting coaching clinic.
 "It feels good to mingle with kids and see what they can do here. A few had some nice touches and maybe one day one of them may even go on to become a big star," said Melo, who plays doubles.-

Monaco's next aim is breaking into top five

ARGENTINE Juan Monaco wants to take his game to a higher level and move closer to the top five by the end of the 2013 season.
     He also aims to break the domination of the "Big Four" -- Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray -- who have been winning all the Grand Slams for the past few years.
     Monaco returned to the top-10 officially yesterday after clinching the Malaysian Open title on Sunday and is only the fourth player on the ATP World Tour to win four titles this season.
     "I'd like to be closer to the top five. I also want to be a consistent top 10 player," said Monaco on Sunday.
     "If I continue to work hard with my team on being a more complete player then it will be achievable.
     "I won my first title on hard court here and this is a huge progress. I will continue to make an impact as long as I stay injury-free."
     Monaco, who had outlasted Japan's Kei Nishikori in a tight semi-final on Saturday, took a see-sawing match 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 for his fourth title of the year, after Vina del Mar, Houston and Hamburg.
     The 28-year-old's dream, however, is to break the dominance of the top four ranked players.
     "It is all down to hard work and talent. I need to improve in all aspects of my game and also be more aggressive in order to break them.
     "Being aggressive is important as I need to be in control of each game (not depend on others to make mistakes)," he said.
     Monaco is close to earning a spot in the World Tour Finals in London but must first do well in Tokyo and then Beijing.
     Only the top eight players will qualify for the annual tournament.
     The Malaysian Open also turned out to be a memorable affair for several upcoming players.
     Canada's Vasek Pospisil made the most of the opportunity in the main draw by reaching his first ever tour quarter-finals before bowing out to Monaco.
     On the local front, Si Yew Ming created history by becoming the first local to win a match in the tournament.
     Yew Ming defeated national junior Colin Wong in the first round of qualifiers but lost tamely his next match to India's Sanam Singh.
     Florida-based Assri Merzuki was the most impressive among the local juniors.
     The 18-year-old won a set before losing to an experienced opponent in the singles qualifiers and then played in the doubles main draw with Syed Agil Syed Naguib. -

Monday, 1 October 2012

A first for Monaco in KL

 SECOND seed Juan Monaco recorded his first win on hardcourt at the ATP Malaysian Open for his seventh career title after battling past Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in an epic men's singles final at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The World No 11, however, had to produce his best tennis to subdue an inspired Benneteau, the World No 34, who despite carrying a forearm injury, was determined to become the first 30-over player to capture his maiden tour title since Aussie Wayne Arthurs, who at 33, won in Scottsdale in 2005.

Argentine Monaco, who spent three weeks as a 10th ranked in July, will return to the top-10 when the official rankings are released today.

The 28-year-old, who also won titles in Vina del Mar, Houstan and Hamburg this season, now has a fighting chance of qualifying for his first World Tour Finals in London in November. Only the top eight ranked players will advance to the annual competition.

"I am very happy with the win and how I played throughout the week. Benneteau is a fighter and I always had to be at the top of my game as if I hadn't, I would have lost to him today (yesterday)," said Monaco yesterday.

"This is my first hardcourt win and for that I will always remember Malaysia. I had a great time here, it's a great tournament and I would also like to thank the fans for their support. I will return next year," said Monaco.

"The win here will definitely inspire me to try harder in forthcoming tournaments in Tokyo and Shanghai. I rather focus on my tournaments than think about London."

Benneteau, the seventh seed, called for the trainer twice during the match for his troubled right forearm and another time for a thigh problem.

"I gave my best but it was not enough. I had pain in my forearm two days ago but it was gone until today (yesterday) when I was doing my warm-ups before the final.

"I got it treated and bandaged. It was tough in the first set as the injury affected my serves. The forearm, however, was fine in the following sets as it was warm and hot after treatment."

It was a thrilling first set, which saw both players exchange breaks on four occasions before Monaco sealed the set with a decisive winner in the 12th game. The proceedings in that game lasted about 20 minutes with Monaco only clinching it on his 11th set point.

But a more relaxed Benneteau was quick to break the opening game of the second set but was immediately broken back by Monaco.

The Frenchman, however, managed to get all the crucial play in the fifth game which he held on en route to winning the set.

Monaco gained the upper hand in the third set with a break in the sixth game. He held match point on Benneteau's serve in the eighth game but couldn't convert it before making sure of victory in the next game.

Monaco added: "I saw Benneteau calling for the trainer after the first set for treatment but despite this, he became stronger and I had to play aggressive throughout the match." -

Peya-Soares on a high

                                                  Bruno Soares (left) and Alexander Peya

THIRD seeds Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil captured their first ATP Tour men's doubles title in only their fourth tournament together at the Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Peya-Soares, quarter-finallists at the recent US Open, dropped the first set before edging unseeded Brits Colin Fleming-Ross Hutchins 5-7, 7-5, 10-7 in the final.

Peya and Soares have had various partners in the past but they hope their new partnership will be long-term.

"We worked hard throughout the tournament and to end the week with a title in only our fourth tournament together is a great thing. It is a good start and we hope our partnership will be long-term," said Soares.

Peya-Soares made an immediate impact in their first tournament in July by reaching the final in Bastad and followed up with a last-16 appearance in Winston-Salem before reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open.

"We practised a lot in-between our matches here just to get things right. Ranking is not important at this moment... what is more important is that we are clicking better day-by-day. Let's see where this goes in the long run," said Soares.

The champions earned US$46,620 (RM142,456) for their efforts while Fleming-Hutchins received US$24,500 (RM74,864).

"We'll have two days to celebrate before we travel to Tokyo for the Japan Open. We hope to keep on doing well."

After Tokyo, the pair will play in Beijing before returning to Europe for tournaments.

Fleming-Hutchins, the World No 13 but unseeded in Kuala Lumpur, were so close to winning their fourth career title after taking the first set.

"It was a good match. We are disappointed to lose, but nonetheless, we enjoyed the experience here. We did well in the first set but a bad fifth game in the second led to our defeat," said Hutchins.

Fleming-Hutchins left for Beijing after the final and will play their opening match on Wednesday.-