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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ambassador Srichaphan Leads the Way
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

When Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand defeated Andre Agassi, in a shock win over the 1992 singles champion during last year’s Championships, he was thrust into the spotlight as a figurehead not just for his country, but also for Asia as a whole (where tennis is a rapidly growing sport).

It has been a hectic year for Srichaphan, who will be 24 on June 14. Two tournament victories and two runner-ups helped pave the way as he became the first Thai to became the first player from Asia to finish in the top 20 since India's Vijay Armitraj in 1980. If that wasn’t enough, in November Srichaphan was made a cultural ambassador and given a diplomatic passport.

Despite the time difference, Wimbledon hugely popular in Asia and his success during last year’s Championships was well received across the continent. "Asians hold Wimbledon in high esteem and it is great for the kids to have someone to look up to."

The 6ft1in and 12st12lb Srichaphan feels his chances of making another impression at the All England Club will be aided by keeping a busy schedule in the build-up. He said: "Everyone is after me a bit on the tour this year after my successes last year but I keep confident by playing lots of matches. That's when I play my best tennis."

But, while Srichaphan can set major goals, he has the advantage of many from his continent because of his height and physicality, says Uthra Shunmugam, executive director of the Asian Tennis Federation.

He said: "We have smaller physical attributes which means we lack power in a power game. There's also the problem of inadequate tournaments, although this is improving, and the travel costs are too high."

He feels it will be difficult for Asia to rival those continents already dominant in tennis, particularly on the men's singles circuit, because of these limitations.

"I do not think we have the numbers to match them and the culture for sport is very different, although it has been seen we have got a couple of players who on their day can match the best in the world.

"Look at last year. Apart from the scalping of Agassi by Paradorn there was nothing too exciting on the world circuit from us.

"I don't think we will achieve much more than we did last year in singles and Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, from India, have split."

Shunmugam feels Wimbledon might reflect this in the male-only competitions.

He said: "I think Paradorn's effort against Agassi was a flash in the pan. I don't see anybody, in general, coming through this year, although Hyung-Taik Lee, from Korea has no doubt done exceedingly well."

Even the boys' singles, in which Paes, in 1990, followed a host of Asian champions in the event that included father and son Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan, is not ripe for success, says Shunmugam. "We haven't a junior who can cause a surprise,” he said.

Shunmugam is more positive about the chances of Asian women at Wimbledon which has a tradition of reasonable achievement in recent years.

In the girls' singles, Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn (1995), Uzbekistan's Iroda Tulyaganova (1999) and Indonesian Angelique Widjaja (2001) have emerged champions.

And Japan's Kimiko Date reached the semi-finals of the senior event in 1996 when compatriot Ai Sugiyama, who has beaten Steffi Graf, Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis, reached the last 16.

Shunmugam said: "Ai Sugiyama has done well and Tamarine Tanasugarn has consistently reach the fourth round of Wimbledon over the last few years."

He feels Asia's best bet is hinted at in the success of Asian players in mixed doubles. Paes combined with Lisa Raymond to take the Wimbledon title in 1999 and the Australian Open with Martina Navratilova this year. Meanwhile, Bhupathi took the Wimbledon title last year with Elena Likhovtseva.

He said that the advantages for Asians is that their “excellent racket work, good hands and court craft which can be used in doubles which doesn't rely so much on power. Paes, with Navratilova, can make an impact this year."

Shunmugam has a sense of perspective; pragmatic rather than pessimistic. And he believes Asian tennis is moving forward.

He said: "There is no doubt that the quality and quantity has risen quite dramatically over the last five years. National associations are now more professional than they were a couple of years ago and they are doing much to promote tennis at grassroots level.

"Considering the diversity of the Asian region and the standards, we are making progress.

Development is pretty fast in some countries, like Uzbekistan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipai and China.

"Asia has a lot of potential and is a growing sport. I know the tennis world hopes it will come through as it will be good for the sport.

"The fact it has so much scope makes my job very exciting. It gives me a lot of joy."

Shunmugam, based in Singapore, is looking forward to return to Wimbledon.

"I've been going there for 14 years. It is my favourite Grand Slam and I have a lot of personal friends there."

He will enjoy the social side and hopes on court activities will give him a few reasons to maintain Asian tennis is moving forward. And maybe Srichaphan might surprise him and inspire a few more to follow him.

Written by Mike Donovan





Srichaphan Survives Scare
Monday, June 23, 2003

Paradorn Srichaphan, who defeated Andre Agassi at Wimbledon last year, came close to becoming the victim of a shock loss himself at The Championships today.

The Thai, seeded 12, surrendered a two set lead over Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia before pulling out a 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

Srichaphan became an Asian icon following his success against American veteran Agassi. But his form has stuttered this year - just four weeks ago Hrbaty, unseeded at Wimbledon, defeated the him on clay at the French Open in Paris.

Yet Court 2, so often the graveyard of favourites, seemed to smile on Srichaphan as he raced to a two set advantage. His serve was in fine working order and his powerful groundstrokes showed consistent accuracy.

But he faltered, presenting Hrbaty, who had won only one match at Wimbledon in six previous visits, with the third set on a double fault. The Thai appeared to grow distracted, particularly when Hrbaty asked for and was granted a replayed point after a loud, overruled line call.

The Slovakian sustained the momentum swing in his favour long enough to level the match. Srichaphan then regained his composure and his grip on the encounter through steady play at the baseline.

Written by Mike Donovan
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Wimbledon-Thailand's Paradorn survives French fright
2003-06-25 15:35:28 GMT (Reuters)

By Bill Barclay

LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Thai 12th seed Paradorn Srichaphan saved two match points as he stormed back from two sets down to beat Frenchman Olivier Mutis 4-6 1-6 7-6 7-5 7-5 in the second round at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Paradorn, who beat Andre Agassi on his way to the third round last year, produced a shambolic display in the first two sets against an opponent playing only his second match at the All England Club.

Mutis was everywhere under leaden skies on court two, the traditional seeds' graveyard. The scampering Frenchman unleashed a series of winners and deft drop shots that belied his lack of experience and his 78 ranking.

But the tall Thai stole the third set on a tiebreak after a rain interruption and then saved two match points when Mutis served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth.

The 1995 Wimbledon junior champion lost his nerve and Paradorn took full advantage by breaking twice to level the match at two sets all.

In the decider Thailand's number one made his heavy serve and greater experience count, clinching the match with a break on the first of two match points when his opponent put a backhand into the net.

Paradorn, who will play Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal next, has never reached the fourth round of a grand slam event.
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NEWS: www.espnstar.com, 26 June 03
Paradorn admits rainbreak saved his skin

LONDON (AFP) - Paradorn Srichaphan admitted he was saved by the rain during his five-set win over Frenchman Olivier Mutis here at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

The Thai player was two sets down when the heavens opened for the first time in this year's tournament, and Paradorn was afforded a 30 minute break to regroup after a torrid opening.

"You never know, if it hadn't rained I might have lost it because I was a little bit down," Paradorn said after the 4-6, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 7-5 second round victory.

"I had a little rest and my coaches and dad came in and told me to think positive, hang in there and think that you can do it. I just went out there and felt really good about hitting the ball."

Paradorn, Asia's number one player, returned to the court to force a tie-break and after winning that survived two match points in the fourth set to set up a third round match with Spanish prodigy Rafael Nadal.

Paradorn struggled early on, making a rash of unforced errors in the opening exchanges, but he also acknowledged the influence of his opponent.

"I expected a tough match but in the first two sets he killed me," he said of Mutis, a junior champion here in 1995.

"He was playing so fast, moving so well and I made a lot of mistakes. It was really tough mentally and I felt the pressure in the beginning but I just tried to be positive."
 

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WIMBLEDON DAY THREE (From : ATPtennis.com)
June 25, 2003

Srichaphan Saves Match Points
Thai stars rallies from two sets down to reach the third round.

Paradorn Srichaphan came back from two sets to love down for the first time in his career to overcome Frenchman Olivier Mutis in a titanic battle on Court 2. The Thai star saved two match points in the fourth set before recording a dramatic 4-6, 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5 victory in 3 hours, 37 minutes to reach the third round for the second year in a row.

After losing the first two sets, Srichaphan stormed to a 5-1 lead in the fourth, only to see Mutis - who knocked Roger Federer out in the first round at Roland Garros - fight back to take a 6-5 lead.

Srichaphan held his nerve and won the tie-break 7-4, but Mutis broke to lead 3-2, served for the match at 5-4 and was 40-15 up before Srichaphan clawed his way back into the game to break. After holding to love, Srichaphan had the momentum and broke again to take the match into a fifth set.

The decider went with serve and with both players giving it their all - diving for volleys - until at 5-5, Mutis had three break points with Srichaphan serving at 0-40. But the 24-year-old Thai dug deep to hold, and then broke for the seventh time in the match to book his place against Rafael Nadal.
 

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The Nation
Published on Jun 27, 2003

A message from His Majesty the King will serve as an inspiration for Paradorn Srichaphan as he takes on Spaniard Raphael Nadal in the third round.

Father and coach Chanachai of the Thai No-1 got a phone call from His Majesty the King's private secretary on Wednesday night, conveying His Majesty's congratulations on winning the match against Frenchman Olivier Mutis after a gallant fight-back in round two.

"His Majesty congratulated Paradorn on his victory. He admired the way Paradorn rallied and won the match,'' said Chanachai, who is accompanied by his wife Ubon, eldest son Thanakorn and Thanakon's wife and sons in London.

"His Majesty also said he always watched Paradorn's matches at Wimbledon. This is a huge inspiration for my son which will definitely boost his morale in the next match,'' said Chanachai. Paradorn will face a real test against Radal, a very powerful and dangerous player on grass.

Despite Radal's power and desire to beat elite players such as Paradorn, Chanachai expects experience will carry his son to victory.

Yesterday, Paradorn and his family went to Buddha Pratheep Temple in London to seek divine help in his next match.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)





Srichaphan Nails Nadal
Friday, June 27, 2003

Paradorn Srichaphan reached the last 16 of Wimbledon for the first time when he overcame 17-year-old Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on No.1 Court.

The 12th seed from Thailand was involved in a five-set marathon against Frenchman Olivier Mutis in his previous round but today dismissed his Spanish opponent in four minutes shy of two hours.

The Thai created a stir at The Championships last year when he knocked out 1992 champion Andre Agassi in the third round. He was too good for Nadal, who had reached the third round on his Grand Slam debut and has been tipped by John McEnroe to be a top 10 performer within the next 18 months.

Srichaphan broke Nadal in the Spaniard's first service game and cruised to a one-set lead. The Thai soon had a two sets to love advantage thanks to his big serve and groundstroke game.

Nadal was forced to save three break points at the beginning of the third set as Srichaphan tightened his grip on the talented but raw teenager. He was broken twice in the set as the Thai wrapped up victory.

Written by Mike Donovan
 

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how i could miss this fantastic forum?now i'm here,ready to cheer for Paradorn!!! :bounce:

2 questions: 1) why u call him Ball?
2) i know he's really famous in Thailand but how much famous?i mean...everyone knows him?do really ppl stay home to watch his matches?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Lindsayfan said:
how i could miss this fantastic forum?now i'm here,ready to cheer for Paradorn!!! :bounce:

2 questions: 1) why u call him Ball?
2) i know he's really famous in Thailand but how much famous?i mean...everyone knows him?do really ppl stay home to watch his matches?
Thank you so much :worship: you are the first one coming here. :kiss: Also thanks for supporting Ball. :kiss:

To answer your question.

1. That is Thai culture. Ball is Paradorn's nickname. In Thailand most of Thai people have their nickname and we don't call the people with their real name. The parents call their sons and daughters with nickname. Friends call their friends with nickname. Next time if you have a chance to meet Ball and their family and you will hear his family call him "Ball" on their conversation. We are doing the same with Tammy(Tamarine Tanasugarn). Next time if you have a chance to meet them (Ball and Tammy) and call their nickname, I'm pretty sure they will be giving you a big smile. :kiss: :kiss: :kiss:

2. The answer below will explain you how much famous he is in Thailand.

2.1 He is becoming very very famous in Thailand since he won first ATP title in 2002 Long Island when he defeated Chela, Juan Ignacio (ARG ) 5-7 6-2 6-2. After he came back Bangkok, our King has invited him and his father (Mr. Chanachai) to his royal palace. (please see the reference attached pic) The King congratulates him and his father for their success. And you know, Ball gave his first ATP trophy (2002 Long Island's trophy) to the King. :kiss: You know actually in Thailand, none of normal people do have chance to meet our King. And you may not know how much Thai people respect our King. He is watching Ball and Tammy's match LIVE on TV. As I've posted in the thread that the King just sent his congratulation message by phone to Ball after Ball vs Mutis match on Wednesday. :hearts:

2.2 Last year he won 3 ATP Awards of the year 2002. ( Please see reference attached pic : 1. Most Improved Players Award, 2. Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, and 3. Player Award who won the first ATP title of the year ) He is becoming the roll model for our children in Thailand. Most of the children in Thailand now want to be number 2 Paradorn Srichaphan and number 2 Tamarine Tanasugarn. And you know, the sales amount of tennis equipment is 50% increasing. Usually it's taffic jam in Bangkok, especially on Friday. Yesterday they were showing Ball vs Nadal match LIVE on TV at 19:00 pm local time and there are nothing on the road because most of people were at home and watching Ball on TV. He earned a lot of money and become a richest man in Thailand, not only their imcome of his tennis career but also he earned from his sponsors and his advertising commercial on TV. :eek:

2.3 The Thai government's been promoting Mr. Chanachai Srichaphan to be the roll model of outstanding father of the year. (please see reference attached pic) Thai government also has been promoting Ball to be cultural embassador. And you know they(Ball and his father) were given "red passport". That means you don't need to declare yourself at the immigration custom when you travel around the world. :eek:

Ball made all Thai people very proud and we are all Thai people love him. :kiss: :kiss:

I think my answers are good enough for your question. Sorry for my bad English. :sad:
 

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wow that's such a amazing story!I already knew about the passport and his meeting with the King,but i didnt know ppl loved him so much :eek:
thanks for everything u wrote and for the pix,I hope he can beat Roddick tomorrow,i'll be watching his match for sure.it will be tough,but i have faith in Ball (what's the pronounciation?like in english "ball"?)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Lindsayfan said:
wow that's such a amazing story!I already knew about the passport and his meeting with the King,but i didnt know ppl loved him so much :eek:
thanks for everything u wrote and for the pix,I hope he can beat Roddick tomorrow,i'll be watching his match for sure.it will be tough,but i have faith in Ball (what's the pronounciation?like in english "ball"?)
Yes, definitely like in English both of pronounciation and meaning.

I think Ball have a chance if he serve well on Monday. :kiss:
 

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It`s an outside bet but I have a feeling that something funny is going to happen at Wimbledon this year...##! I know it`s a huge task but we may see the first genuine Asian (not include pseudo Chinese M Chang).. to win a Slam.!!
Ofcourse still 4-tough matches ahead, but if he can get past Roddick then Paradorn`s confidence may soar even further, then he`ll need to contend with Federer in Semi-Final & probably Agassi in Final...!!
People may laugh at me,. but I just have a vision of the Swashbuckling Thai holding the gold trophy next Sunday... interesting to see how it pans out(@[email protected]).!
Ball is not actually my favourite~ I`ve always followed Agassi`s career, & Hewitt has been inspirational the last few years-# but if the guy from Bangkok Thunder can pull of a Grand Slam title it would transform Men`s tennis & inspire many more Asians^(ofcourse he already has).. but I like to see positive changes in Men`s Tennis. Paradorn winning would be just what the doctor ordered:)>
ps* Fightback against Mutis could be major turning point in his career,. winning those tough 5-setters after 2-0 down helped Pat Rafter & Lleyton Hewitt to win their first GS(s), so I believe it can be the same for Paradorn!!!
 

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Ball's interview after the match ( vs Nadal )

Paradorn Srichaphan - Day 5
Friday, June 27, 2003

Q. Must be nice to win a match in straight sets.

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah, you know, after first two matches in five sets, my body's really sore yesterday. You know, my dad give me a lot of massage yesterday which is really help. My body holding up pretty good today. I (do/don't) feel sore at all. But I'm glad to win in three sets today.

Q. You seem pretty much in control.

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah, it's look like it. But in the second set he broke me first. You know, I just tried to hang in there and stay focused. I'm really concentrate on my game today.

Q. A lot of people are talking about him as the next Top 10, Top 20 player. What do you think?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I think he could be really, you know, top player in the future because he's still young. He got a big shot. You know, I would say if I play him on clay, I think I have no chance because he is grow up on clay. He could be a great player in the future.

Q. No physical problem? Leg is fine?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Everything is healthy. Just a little, you know, been playing a lot of, you know, set for the last three days. I think my body's hold pretty good. I do stretch a lot. You know, like I say, my dad give me massage a lot.

Q. How much faster or slower will the ball seem to you from Roddick than playing indoors?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Well, yeah, last time I play him in indoor. You know, this is grass. I think his game is suit well on grass. Is going to be a tough one.

Q. How fast are those courts in Paris?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Is not fast like here, I think, because is grass. I think, you know, if the conditioning is dry, is pretty close to Paris.

Q. And how did you do against his serve there?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: You know, last time 7‑6, 7‑6, really tight match. You know, is the last tournament of the year. You know, I'll try my best. I been playing my best tennis in my career last year for couple weeks in a row. I finish, you know, semifinal in Paris.

Q. On the first point of this match, he hit a smash, you returned it for a winner. Did you get the feeling when you did that, you were kind of sending a message that you were doing things maybe people that opposed him as a junior couldn't do?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: You know, first point I remember he hit the smash and I just hit the ball back, winner forehand. Well, the ball just come to me and I just wait right there. The only thing, I just have to hit the ball to him.

Q. Was your biggest advantage today your size compared to him?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: I really concentrate on my game today and really confidence to go out there because actually I love the way he hits the ball. I mean, he hits it pretty good. He's really quick around the court. You know, he's great player. I think I hit the ball well today. I'm moving well, serving well. Just be confidence on the court.

Q. What's going on in Thailand? Are you hearing from people? Is there a tremendous reaction?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah. They been following my match since first round.

Q. On television?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: They televise it live every day on local channel, which is Channel 7. All the people, you know, stay in the house watching. Actually, today is Friday. I start at 1:00 here, which is 7:00 in the evening on Friday. My friends call me. "It's raining here, but there's no traffic here." Normally is traffic on Friday evening.

Q. Everybody is in watching Paradorn?

PARADORN SRICHAPHAN: Yeah. It's great (smiling).
 
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