Veteran Thai tennis star Tamarine Tanasugarn says she wants to continue working towards her goal of playing the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 in memory of her father, who passed away earlier this year due to cancer.
Tamarine Tanasugran on the Tokyo Olympics
The 43 year old Tanasugarn is currently ranked No.
380 on the WTA doubles rankings and says her father was the inspiraton behind her latest doubles comeback. Speaking to the WTA website, the former World No. 15 in doubles says, "Three years ago, we found out that my dad had cancer.
And this year, the Olympic Games were going to be in Japan. My dad actually went to the 1964 Olympics in Japan on the Thai basketball team. We were trying to support him by saying, let's go to the Tokyo Olympics - and I really wanted to go for him as well.
It was our goal together - for me, it was tennis, and for him, it was health. So I started to come back in mid-2019. Sadly, my dad passed away in January this year - but I still want to keep going with my goal for next year."
While it remains to be seen how her dream of playing in the Olympics goes, the Thai player has opened her own academy to help junior players in Thailand - the Tamarine Tennis Academy in 2016. "I am more concentrating on under-10 tennis.
Myself and my star coach are going to schools to find players. I think the problem is that we don't have a big population of tennis players - so I want to concentrate on the young kids, so that in the long term the tennis community in Thailand becomes bigger.
A bigger grassroots community at a lower level will mean that we get more players at the top level, whether national or even professional." Tamarine Tanasugarn highest WTA ranking in singles was No. 19, achieved in May 2002, which is the best ranking ever achieved for a Thai female player.
She has won four singles and eight doubles titles on the WTA Tour. Her best performance at the majors came in 2008 when she reached the singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon. She achieved most of her success on grass and she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on seven occasions.