Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Hero Paradorn re-ignites Thailand with brief return


Singles matches became an afterthought at the Thailand Open yesterday as national tennis hero Paradorn Srichaphan returned to the courts in doubles after a two-and-a-half year wrist injury absence.

The one-time world No. 9, now with a protected ATP ranking in the wake of two operations, went down in the first round with Davis Cup companion Danai Udomchoke. The home pair lost to German Michael Kohlmann Alexander Peya of Austria, 2-6, 6-1 (10-6).

The 30-year-old Paradorn said that the brief exposure whetted his appetite for competition — but a final decision on when to resume his stalled career cannot be made for another two months when doctors assess his wrist nine months after surgery.

“I hit the ball OK, of course there is still a lot of work to go. I want to return to the ATP, I think I still have the ability,” said the winner of five titles, who was formerly the point man for the entire Asian game. “I have to look after my wrist, I can’t make a strict timetable. But I hope to play from January, maybe in Chennai, India.”

Paradorn last competed in March, 2007, in California, before jacking in the game for his first wrist operation. He since had a second and is making a slow recovery.

In the interim, he has married a former beauty queen, raced motorcycles — he took a spill on two wheels that didn’t help his wrist problems — and has opened an Italian restaurant in the heart of Bangkok.

Paradorn says the dream of resuming his career remains alive.

“I would have loved to have come back in singles,” he said. “But I knew physically I was not ready. I’ve only been a able to train with the racket for the past two weeks. I need to train for more days from now on, but I don’t want to do a lot of travelling. I have a wife now and tennis is not everything. At the end of the year I should know a lot more about my future.”

Action on court was sparse, with American Kevin Kim picking up an opening victory over German Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 6-4.

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