Optimism abound at Asian U-14 Series tournament
Posted on September 3, 2012, Monday
KUCHING: Former national tennis coach and trainer Saeed Afzalirad has never stopped his quest to unearth new tennis stars for Malaysia.
Speaking to The Borneo Post yesterday, Saeed commented that he can’t wait for the start of the Eighth edition of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Asian U-14 Series tournament as he sees the competition as a platform to unearth rising stars of tennis.
He was hoping that his current players, Ernest Dagenhart and Tara Afzalirad will do well in the eagerly awaited competition.
“I don’t have a specific target. I haven’t seen any of the other players in this tournament in action so it’s difficult for me to set a target,” replied Saeed when asked on any specific target that he has set for his players.
He continued that participants come into a tournament to win and he expects no less from his players. He thinks that his players stand a realistic chance to win the tournament.
Saeed added that he was full of praise on the efforts made by Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) to organise the tournament.
He continued that the competition is well managed and organised, and is worth his time coming here.
“In Malaysia, I think SLTA organises one of the best tournaments besides Penang.
They are doing a good job and I think we need more organisers like them in the country,” he commented.
Residing in Malaysia for about 20 years now, Saeed commented that he feels very much at home here.
He is optimistic that Malaysia could one day be a tennis powerhouse.
From 1990 to 1998, he was the national junior coach. He would then go on to become the national junior coach for his native Iran.
“I returned to Malaysia in 2000. I now prefer to work independently now as I run a mini tennis academy in Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
Dagenhart, who is originally from Belarus, is qualified to represent Malaysia in the tournament as his father is a permanent resident of the country.
He will be facing his compatriot Hanif Pauzi today in the tournament qualifiers.
13 players will be playing each other in the qualifiers today for a place in the main draw of the Asian U-14 Series.
The qualifiers starts today at the SLTA tennis grounds near Kuching Civic Centre.