The Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand (LTAT) president Kitsombat Euammongkol hopes the overlapping schedule between the Asian Games and the US Open will open more opportunities for Thailand in the continental sports extravaganza next month.
The Thai tennis boss said that with the Asiad tennis competition taking place between 19-29 August and the year’s last tennis major starting on August 27, many top Asian would opt to chase glory in New York instead.
That will give more chances for his main hopes to produce medals for the Kingdom, including world No 89 Luksika Kumkhum, plus 2002 silver medalists Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana.
“The US Open is the last major of the year and main-draw players [normally in the top 100] don’t want to miss out on the chance to play,” Kitsombat said at a Meet The Press gathering at the Rajamangala National Stadium on Thursday.
“If that’s the case the Asian Games field shouldn’t be so tough,”.
LTAT also gave Luksika the green light to go to New York as she is guaranteed to be in the main draw and skipped the event last year in order to compete at the SEA Games in Malaysia.
According to Kitsombat, however, she chose to put her country first but could still play in New York.
“But she might be able to go to the US Open if she plays only the Asian Games singles, which should be over a day or two before the US Open. We will discuss this with the team later,” Kitsombat said.
Luksika won a silver medal in the singles and the gold medal with Tamarine Tanasugarn in the doubles while men’s duo Sonchat and Sanchai won the bronze four years ago in South Korea.
“As this could be the twins’ farewell Asian Games, they will be more determined than ever to finish on a high note,” said the LTAT president.
Meanwhile Badminton Association of Thailand deputy-secretary general Thanat Assavanapapas said the women’s team was a key medal prospect for Thailand after they reached the Uber Cup final in Bangkok two months ago.
“The Asian Games badminton competition is similar to the World Championships as all the powerhouses of this sport are in this continent,” he said. “But due to the unexpected finals berth of the women’s team in the Uber Cup, they should be our highest hope in the Games.”