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Cambodia & Sports: A significant moment in the history of the Kingdom, as the country prepares to host the 2024 Davis Cup

Cambodia has been chosen to host Group IV of the Davis Cup for the first time in its history. This was announced by Rithi Tep, who was also elected vice-president of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) at the beginning of 2024.

Following the success of hosting the Southeast Asian Games in 2023 and the first ITF Asian Junior Championships, Tennis Cambodia is looking to build on this historic run by bringing the Tennis World Cup to Phnom Penh for the first time.

Group IV of the 2024 Asia/Oceania Davis Cup will be made up of eight participating countries: Cambodia, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

This excellent news reflects the efforts of Tennis Cambodia and its Secretary General Rithi Tep, who was also elected Vice President of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) in early 2024. This enables him to play a key role in promoting tennis academies and coaches across the region and Asia.

In addition to his two new strategic roles, Rithi recalls Tennis Cambodia's contribution to the success of the ITF Asian Junior 14 and Under Championships 2023, which took place last September at the Morodok Techo National Stadium. The event was such a success that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has asked Cambodia to organise it again in the coming years.

Rithivit's aim is to encourage 30 of the 45 countries in Asia to take part in a new academy programme. In an interview with our partners at the Post, Rithi explains,

"I am very proud, especially of our tennis federation. I have asked the ATF to include three members of our federation as assistants to help me organise events. With ASEAN and Asia looking to us, this is an important opportunity for us to show our dedication."

The ATF views Cambodia as a country on the world stage, and it is therefore important for us to shine. I am confident in our ability to fulfil this obligation.

Regarding the organisation of academy competitions and other programmes to promote the development of tennis in the five zones of Asia, Rithi stresses that he has urged the ATF Board to help countries that do not have the capacity to organise such events on their own. He explains that the larger countries have the resources and capacity to run their own competitions, even without support.

"I suggested that we should set ourselves the goal of helping countries that don't have the capacity to organise such events. We need to organise frequent competitions in these countries, to facilitate the progression of those at lower levels, and the President of the ATF supports this idea. Why do I support this idea? "Because we used to be a poor country, it's important that we always remember where we come from," he explains.

He recalls that just 15 years ago, Cambodia was not yet perceived as a significant tennis nation. During international competitions, many teams were unaware of the Cambodian team's origins.

As part of his efforts to promote the development of tennis in Cambodia, Rithivit reveals that he has extended his commitment beyond his role as General Secretary, even though it is unpaid and requires a significant personal financial contribution. Despite these challenges, he remains committed, especially as his three sons are also tennis players. He also expresses his gratitude to the federation's current president, Sear Rithy, a prominent business figure in Cambodia who has supported the organisation since 2018.

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