Many famous identities surface in Hua Hin; sometimes from the world of show business, the business world but also stars of the sporting arena. In December, the world’s most talented sporting stars from the world of women’s tennis surfaced at the InterContinental World Tennis Thailand Championships 2017 at True Arena Hua Hin. Describing these four tennis players as world stars is no overstatement. Romania’s Simona Halep is rated No. 1 in the world with 20 year old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko at No. 7. Britain’s Johanna Konta is rated at No. 9 and Karolina Plíšková from the Czech Republic at No. 4 after previously being rated at No. 1. She is not to be confused with twin sister Kristýna who holds the record for the most aces (31) in a match on the WTA Tour.
After having the opportunity to see the sights, try their hand at preparing Thai food with a cooking class and conducting a Kids’ Clinic with professionals from True Arena’s PBI tennis Academy, the players joined Khun Suwat Liptapanlop, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Asian Tennis Federation at a pre-tournament press conference at the InterContinental Hotel. The ladies were very eager to give recognition to True Arena as a premier sporting venue, including training and practice facilities and most importantly the Plexicushion Prestige Tennis Courts which replicate the Australian Open’s Rod Laver Arena.
The Australian Open is the first major tennis tournament of 2018, held from the 15th January. Playing on centre court at True Arena is perhaps the best way to get into form before the Open; even the weather is likely to be similar. Hua Hin pundits believe that winning here is the best predictor of becoming the Australian Open champion, a feat achieved by Serena Williams in 2016. Round one of our Championship pitted Simona Halep against Johanna Konta with the former a 6-3, 6-3 winner. Johanna had just returned to competitive tennis after a 3 month break, perhaps not the best preparation for a tough match against the world’s No 1.
The second round had a similar result with a 6-1, 6-4 win to the higher ranked Karolina Plíšková over Jelena Ostapenko, although the final score may not reflect the closeness of the fiercely fought battle. In the third place play-off, Johanna Konta beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-3. The final was then between Simona Halep and Karolina Plíšková. Karolina was unable to repeat her twin sister’s WTA record of aces (achieved at the 2016 Australian Open) with many strong returns by Simona; who really showed her class to become the World Tennis Thailand Championships 2017 winner and champion with a 6-2, 6-3 victory. Simona said “I’m happy I could win two matches. Someone told me if you win here you will win the Australian Open. If I don’t win, it’s not my fault OK?” But look out Melbourne; Simona Halep is coming!
The tennis scene in Hua Hin is alive and well with South-East Asia’s only sunken tennis venue boasting the very best surface ready to welcome the world’s very best players. However being amongst the best is not a pre-requisite to enjoying these world class facilities at True Arena. Coaching can be arranged for players of all levels with friendly games available even for those who may describe themselves as ‘tennis tragics’! www.facebook.com/tennistruearenahuahin, Phone: 032 909 633