|From left: Tamarine Tanasugarn, Pat Vasuratna, Melissa Pine, Nat Punnin and Yayuk Basuki at the WTA Future Stars Bangkok Clinic (Photo credit - WTA)|
WTA Future Stars served up a smashing success on the first stop of the junior Race to Singapore, with WTA Finals Legend Ambassadors Tamarine Tanasugarn and Yayuk Basuki leading a clinic for 20 local juniors and 16 children from Childline Thailand Foundation (CTF), at Bangkok’s LTAT National Tennis Centre.
Tanasugarn and Basuki offered advice on a range of themes, such as the importance of teamwork, doubles match strategy and the keys to success on court. The accomplished pair also inspired the children with tales of WTA life, travelling the world. The tour veterans were then joined by two former WTA Future Stars participants – Nat Punnin, Thailand’s 2015 representative and Pat Vasuratna, a 2016 representative – to stage a doubles masterclass.
Sharing her thoughts on the clinic, Tanasugarn said, “Every time I get on the court for WTA Future Stars, I feel more passionate and excited about the future of tennis in South-East Asia. It was great to share some of my experiences and especially the importance of teamwork, and hope that they will take our advice to heart.”
The clinic gave the children from CTF a chance to learn a range of basic tennis skills, some picking up a tennis racquet for the very first time. For the 20 junior players, the clinic provided a unique opportunity to enhance their play with advice from their seniors in the WTA Future Stars programme, as well as the two WTA Legends. The WTA Legends and WTA Future Stars then paired up to demonstrate the formations, strategies and movement required in the doubles game.
Speaking after the clinic, Salakthip Ounmuang and under-14 junior player said, “My dream is to be a professional tennis player and to represent Thailand. Meeting and learning from the two WTA legends has inspired me even more, and I’m very thankful for the experience. After today, I better understand how the doubles skills will help me improve my game.”
The session was part of WTA Future Stars, a tournament that brings together players from across the Asia-Pacific region. Each country sends two representatives, one each in the U14 and U16 categories, to compete against each other during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
The WTA Future Stars regional outreach will make its next stop in India in July, before wrapping up in Indonesia in August.
Basuki, Indonesia’s highest ever ranked tennis player, said, “I am glad to see the enthusiasm and joy on the faces of these kids and I hope their passion for tennis continues to grow. I also look forward to welcoming Tamarine to Indonesia in August and having her share her stories with some of our junior players too.”
"The LTAT is pleased to welcome the WTA to Bangkok to conduct the WTA Future Stars Masterclass with one of our local heroes, Tamarine Tanasugarn, as well as Asian legend Yayuk Basuki. It is our honour to host the event at the LTAT Stadium and we are delighted that our junior players enjoyed this invaluable experience today which hopefully inspires them to pursue their passion for tennis,” said LTAT President Mr. Kitsombat Euammongkol.
Speaking after the session, Melissa Pine, Vice President of WTA Asia-Pacific and Tournament Director of the WTA Finals, said, “WTA Future Stars continues to provide an opportunity to touch the lives of youth in this region. It is heartening to see how passionate the children are about learning how to become better athletes and tennis players.” “Seeing our WTA Legends inspire the next generation with their valuable expertise and wisdom is truly a heart-warming experience,” Pine added. “We are thankful for the support of WTA alumnae such as Tamarine Tanasugarn and Yayuk Basuki, and the wider tennis family for helping us engage and impact the lives of children in Asia-Pacific.”
To wrap up the day, the WTA and WTA Finals promoters Lagardère Sports will host a cocktail evening for media and stakeholders at Rajpruek Country Club to promote The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore 2017 presented by SC Global. The crown-jewel of the WTA calendar will take place in Singapore from October 22 – 29 2017 where the best in women’s tennis will compete for the year’s biggest prize purse of US$7 million. Players accumulate points throughout the saeason and the top eight singles players and doubles teams on the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard then compete in the season finale at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.