State junior Assri shapes up in Florida
Posted on December 2, 2010, Thursday
KUCHING: Mohd Assri Merzuki has made good progress at the United Tennis Academy (UTA) in Florida where he is undergoing a six-month training stint.
A promising local junior player, the 16-year-old student from SMK St Joseph finished runner-up in two Super Series tournaments in the Sunshine State.
After three months preparation under his tennis and physical coach Doru Sorin Murariu at the academy in Bradenton, Assri, the ITF junior Number 727 (boy) player, seems to have regained his form.
“I worked hard in my physical conditioning. I had to lose 10kg to adapt my body to the higher work volume and intensity.
“I feel stronger and faster now but still have to translate all this strength and speed into my court movements,” Assri said in a report filed by Murariu to Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association president Datuk Patrick Liew.
Liew is monitoring Mohd Assri’s progress weekly through video conferencing with Murariu, and the updates through email.
According to Liew, Murariu is satisfied with his charge’s progress so far. The coach said Assri has improved technically and is in even better physical shape now.
“I see even more potential in his physical development. We just have to monitor his nutrition and fitness planning.” Murariu felt another area where Mohd Assri needs “urgent improvement” is mental toughness.
“He played well in every match — that’s because of his high endurance level.
In the final, he had two match points, one on his serve, but couldn’t close out the match,” he noted.
In the Eddie Herr International tournament that began this week, Assri got past the first round of the Under-16 singles after defeating Swiss Jonathan Venard 6-4, 7-5 to meet an American player in the second round.
The is one of the best US junior tournaments that attracts many top ranked young players.
Liew described Assri’s achievements as “very encouraging.”
“Assri still has much to do to reach the expected level – Group One where he will face the top 300 ITF ranked players,” he said.
Assri will complete his training next February and up three or four tournaments have been lined up for him to gain further exposure and experience.
They include the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup (I) ITF World Junior Tennis Championship (Group One), ITF World Junior Tennis Championship (Group Four) in Melaka, ITF World Junior Tennis Championship (Group Four) in Brunei and ITF World Junior Tennis Championship (Group One) in the Philippines.
“If he plays well in these tournaments, we may send him to Florida for another year,” Liew said.
He thanked the state government, the Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry, the Sarawak State Sports Council, Lea Sports Centre Sdn Bhd, Saratim Insurance, corporate companies and individuals for contributing towards Mohd Assri’s training programme.
“Hopefully, Assri will become a role model for the sport. This will enable us to attract more sponsors in our endeavour to produce more good players,” he said.
Before his training stint in the US, Assri was the Albert Portas High Performance Camp, Barcelona, in May with compatriots Ariez Elyaas Deen Hesham and Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib from Negeri Sembilan.
He is among a new batch of young players the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia is eyeing for future Davis Cup and Asian events. The others are Ariez, Syed Agil, Mohamed Nazim Khan, Khoo Er Yang, Ahmad Deedat Abdul Razak and Wan Muiz.