Paradorn’s On the Ball at True Arena

Paradorn’s On the Ball at True Arena
Paradorn’s On the Ball at True Arena

Paradorn “Ball” Srichaphan was born in Thailand and was once Asia’s top ranked tennis player. In 2003 he was ranked #9 in the world making him the highest ranked ATP player to come from Asia

Those are the credentials which give competitors confidence in his ability to be the Tournament Director apart from managing The Paradorn Tennis academy at True Arena. Khun Paradorn was born in Khon Kaen where he was initially coached by his father but perhaps the influence of two older brothers, both Davis Cup players, was the spur to him being able to turn pro in 1997. The 2002 breakout year came in 2002. Time Magazine Asia put him on the cover, labeled as an “Asian Hero”.

He was given an audience with the King of Thailand; an honor usually reserved for heads of state, and was issued a red diplomatic passport after being named a cultural ambassador by the Thailand Tourism Authority. Khun Paradorn was known as one of the nicest players on tour due to his friendliness and his politeness on court, wining him the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award on two occasions.

His superior athleticism and skill has led him to victory on court against the world’s top players including his most memorable win against Andre Agassi at Wimbledon. His scalps have also included Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and David Nalbandian. After undergoing wrist surgery in 2007, Srichaphan finally announced his formal retirement in 2010. Apart from captaining the Thailand Davis Cup Team, tennis coaching duties then became Khun Paradorn’s main activity, both in Pattaya and Bangkok before the Paradorn Academy in Hua Hin took shape.

There’s now a squad of teenagers under his wing and some planning for a big tournament next year likely to attract a purse of some US $250,000. He’s also hopeful that True Arena will be able to increase the number of courts, including a clay surface. So what does a retired professional tennis player do when he wants a break?

Just to show his sporting versatility, Khun Paradorn took a break from tennis before arriving in Hua Hin with his young family. He is now the proud owner of a golf professional’s card and has entered several professional golf tournaments just for fun. If you ask Khun Paradorn if he has scored any aces lately, you’ll need to specify the sport first.