Over in Thailand, things are really stirring. No hint yet of a formal comeback for Paradorn Srichaphan, who was at Wimbledon this year on a flying visit, though wouldn’t it be nice to see this eternally cheerful competitor back in the ranks? No, it is the celebration of one of their female players that is taking the nation by storm.
David Lloyd, the former Great Britain Davis Cup captain, couldn’t believe his eyes a couple of weeks ago when he boarded a flight to Bangkok, the Thai capital, on business. Finding himself upgraded to first class, Lloyd found himself across the aisle from a young girl in a track suit who looked particularly sporty and he wondered who on earth it could be. Within a couple of hours of take off, the pilot emerged from the cockpit brandishing a birthday cake (no candles) and the crew gathered round to applaud the presentation to said girl.
It wasn’t until the plane landed and at least a thousand people, plus almost as many digital cameras and TV crews, mobbed the girl and Lloyd discovered it was 18-year-old Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, the Wimbledon JUNIOR singles and doubles champion. “It was astonishing, I don’t think I’d ever seen anything like it,” he said. “The reaction of the Thai people to a girl winning the Wimbledon junior championship was incredible. Good luck to them.
Courtesy Neil Harmon The Times.