KUCHING: To prime the state’s elite players for professional tennis, the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) is planning to organise a Men’s Futures or a Challenger event here next year.
SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew said the association is expecting to secure funding from some positive sponsors to organise a Men’s Futures US$10,000 or US$15,000 or even a Challenger US$50,000.
“We have talked to the Philippines Tennis Federation which managed to secure funding from ITF for the prize money. We plan to do a back-to-back Challenger event with the Philippines. Hopefully, staging such an event here would bring us to a higher level in terms of positioning,” he said.
“It will take about US$30,000 to organise a Men’s Futures US$10,000 and at least US$80,000 to organise a Challenger US$50,000.”
Liew said this would benefit local players like Mohd Assri Merzuki, Ariez Elyaas Heshaam, Rohaizat Achop Borhan Janang and Low Zhe Han as they can get wild cards to play in the tournament.
He is confident the event would position Kuching in bidding for bigger and higher level tournaments.
“We will use this competition as a booster for our youngsters to take it up (tennis) as a career.
“We have helped several players to study in the US by securing tennis scholarships and hopefully, they can take it up as a career,” added Liew.
He said SLTA has been keeping in touch with the Philippines and Indian tennis officials on the hosting of Men’s Futures and Challenger events.
SLTA had organised a Women’s Futures US$10,000 in 2009, Men’s Futures US$10,000 in 2012 and Men’s Futures US$15,000 in 2013.