Myanmar will host the 2013 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Group III and IV events next year in what the Tennis Federation of Myanmar hopes will provide a huge step forward for tennis in the country.
The two events will be held in consecutive weeks at the Thein Byu Tennis Stadium, the national tennis centre in Yangon, between 22 April and 5 May, meaning that the ten-court facility will showcase a two-week festival of tennis.
A total of 19 nations are set to take part. Eight, including Cambodia (looking to build on its historic Davis Cup debut in 2012 when it won promotion from the Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV event staged in Doha in April), Hong Kong China, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, Pacific Oceania, UAE and Vietnam will contest Asia/Oceania Zone Group III in the first week. There will be 11 teams taking part in Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV, including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkmenistan and Yemen.
“The Davis Cup is a very prestigious event and for the nation of Myanmar we are extremely proud of this honour to be host nation," said U Aung Maw Thein, President of the Tennis Federation of Myanmar. “Myanmar tennis just took a giant step forward. Because of the Davis Cup this will be a catalyst for developing the tennis at all levels throughout the country.”
Hosting Davis Cup is one of a number of projects undertaken by TFM to help develop tennis in Myanmar and there will be plenty of work to do before the staging of the two events in April.
“New courts have to be built, teachers and referees educated and our players trained,” continued the TFM president. “The Tennis Federation of Myanmar is most grateful to the ITF for giving us this responsibility."
This week, the first Annual Myanmar International Tennis Project takes place, with the focus on building a strong base of new tennis coaches and players in Myanmar. There will be a tennis teaching educational course with 35 teachers representing all 14 nations and states in Myanmar, an Officiating School for developing tournament umpires and referees, a Pro-Am Doubles tournament, a fundraising dinner and the main event, the Sunkist Kids Tennis Day, which will welcome 1000 children from 15 public and private schools and kick-off the TFM’s nationwide talent search.
The federation hired Robert Davis as head coach and technical expert in 2011 and has made widespread improvements since, focusing on coach education, talent identification, officiating and attracting international tournaments to Myanmar.