BANGKOK, Thailand - Over the course of her career, WTA Legend Tamarine Tanasugarn flew the Thai flag solo on tour - and now she's planting the seeds of the sport's growth at home, introducing 50 primary school children to the sport for the first time in Bangkok as part of a WTA Future Stars clinic.
Tanasugarn, who reached a career high of World No.19 in 2002, won four WTA titles and reached the second week of a major nine times, including the 2008 Wimbledon quarterfinal, took part in basic exercises and drills with pupils from the Preedavittaya School. She was assisted by 2014 WTA Future Stars U14 runner-up, Pimrada Jattavapornvanit.
Tanasugarn, who will be returning as a WTA Finals Legend Ambassador in Singapore this October, said: "It has been great working with the WTA to promote tennis in Thailand through the WTA Future Stars programme over the last few years. Each time, we are able to reach out to a new group of children and introduce them to tennis, and I really enjoy being able to share my experience with them. It would be great to see more children take up tennis in Thailand and hopefully we will see some Thai stars in the future!"
The WTA Future Stars initiative was designed to raise awareness of the sport in the Asia-Pacific region and was launched in 2014, alongside the first edition of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. 14-year-old Jattavapornvanit is one of those who has benefited, and she said afterwards: "It was a wonderful experience to be able to represent my country at the WTA Future Stars tournament in Singapore last year, and I am glad to be able to attend the clinic today to share my passion for tennis with other local children. Tamarine Tanasugarn is our role model, and being able to stand next to her to encourage more children in Thailand to play our sport is a very special experience for me."