While driving around Cambodia, looking at people playing badminton or say it’s not an unfamiliar vision. Tennis courts, however, do not seem to be a common sight. In the entire Cambodia, there are only seventy-seven of them, mostly located in private locations such as luxury hotels. That lack of presence was not always the case and tennis was considered to be in a golden era in the 50s and 60s. The uprising of the Khmer Rouge in the 70’s however stopped that momentum. Only three Cambodian players survived.
In many parts of the world, tennis is thriving as international competitions and tennis players are changing the way the sport is played and tournaments cash prizes are rising. In 2018, the Australian open will distribute AUD 55 million to the competitors. The sport of Tennis may be considered as an elitist sport, but is still more accessible than polo or golf. In the fast-growing economy like Cambodia and its increasing middle class, the local popularity of racket games will eventually make tennis the ideal sport to play everywhere.
One man has taken the challenge to make Cambodia a formidable country in the world of tennis. As a fan of tennis, Tep Rithivit, was devastated to see there was no longer any tennis teams when he came back from Canada in 1992. Drawn by business opportunities, the young Cambodian provided investment consulting for a range of international companies.
In 2007, Tep Rithivit created DEVENCO, an investment consulting company that has since grew to new heights. In addition to that firm and faithful to his principles, Rithivit also developed GAEA and CINTRI, two companies that are working towards a greener Cambodia. Rithivit lives by the idea that success is defined by the balance of a person on a family level, a personal level and a friendly level. To Rithivit, tennis is an important key in reaching that balance, and thus, success.