Tennis: Nawakaran Khunjan from Thailand defeated Parth Aggarwal of India 6-0, 6-3 to win the 2016 Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) held in Thimphu yesterday.

It took just about an hour for the 18-year-old to wrap up the final game against his Indian opponent. Nawakaran Khunjan dominated the game with his powerful serves and agile movements on the court.

His opponent, Parth Aggarwal fought back in the second set, however, several unforced errors from the Indian gave away the second and final set in the best-of-three series game to the Thai.

Both the finalists attributed the favourable weather to their success. “The weather here is very favourable for a tennis player like me. It was an added advantage for me to perform well in this tournament,” said Nawakaran Khunjan.

“Playing in cold weather has its advantage. We do not get tired easily but the high altitude makes the ball travel faster thus, it required us to be faster than usual on our feet,” said Parth Aggarwal.

Following a major win against a Bhutanese player on September 16, Nawakaran Khunjan said that he was expecting to win the tournament.

Nawakaran Khunjan defeated three Bhutanese players in straight sets to reach the finals. “Bhutanese players have potential but they lack seriousness in the game and make constant silly mistakes,” said the champion.

Of the seven Bhutanese who registered for the tournament, six of them made it into the main draw. Tenzin Singye and Kinley Wangchuk reached the quarter and semi finals respectively.

Kinley Wangchuk lost 0-6, 0-6 to Nawakaran Khunjan in the semi finals on September 17.

The tournament director and the head coach of Bhutan Tennis Federation, Tshering Namgay said that an improved performance from the Bhutanese side was displayed at the tournament.

However, he said that the players could have done much better had they played seriously. “The problem with our players is that they never take things seriously,” said Tshering Namgay. “To win a tournament, they have to give in their 100 percent commitment and dedication.”

One of the spectators said that despite the talent, the notion that games and sports can’t be pursued as a career in the country is the main deterrent for Bhutanese athletes.

Tshering Namgay, however, added that to break such believes and to motivate Bhutanese athletes, similar international tournaments will be made an annual event in the federation’s calendar.

“Although the first of its kind in Bhutan, ATT was a big success for all of us,” he said. “This dream was made possible with the help of all the stakeholders involved in this three-day international tournament.”

A total of 20 participants from five Asian countries took part in the competition.

Meanwhile, the second edition of the India Bhutan Friendship Tennis Championship is scheduled towards the end of the month.

Younten Tshedup