A household name in Thailand and a consistent performer on the global tennis circuit for over a decade, Paradorn Srichaphan will be on hand to dispense invaluable advice to young athletes at Nanjing 2014, a role he is relishing.
Paradorn Srichaphan is the greatest Thai tennis player in history. During his professional career, which lasted from the late 1990s to 2010, the Khon Kaen-born athlete appeared at two Olympic Games, carrying the flag for his country at Athens 2004. In addition, he climbed as high as ninth in the tennis world rankings (in 2003), collected five titles on the ATP circuit, knocked the USA’s Andre Agassi out of Wimbledon in 2002, and spearheaded numerous Davis Cup campaigns, steering Thailand to the play-offs for a place in the World Group on no less than four occasions (2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006).
After establishing himself as one of Thailand’s most popular ever sporting figures, Srichaphan announced his retirement in June 2010. In September of that year, a ceremony was organised in the Olympian’s honour at the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
Four years later, the International Tennis Federation chose the former champion to represent the game as an Athlete Role Model at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing (CHN). “He always showed great professionalism and sportsmanship, and took huge pride in playing for Thailand. I know that he will be an outstanding representative of tennis and of his country and continent in Nanjing,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.
For his part, Srichaphan stated: "I’m honoured to have been selected as an Athlete Role Model. I’m sure that the Youth Olympic Games will be a fantastic event for young athletes to compete on the global stage. This should be a great opportunity for them in the early stages of their athletic careers. I’m looking forward to spending time with the young athletes, as well as to promoting the event with other Athlete Role Models.”
There is no doubt that the l tennis players competing in Nanjing, all of whom will be aged between 15 and 18 and originating from over 40 different countries, will find in Srichaphan an attentive mentor, who will take great pleasure in providing key pointers and sharing his own sporting experiences.©Getty Images