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post-title Andrea Ka: Cambodian tennis’ rising star

Andrea Ka: Cambodian tennis’ rising star

Andrea Ka: Cambodian tennis’ rising star

Andrea Ka: Cambodian tennis’ rising star

Andrea Ka is Cambodia’s most accomplished player, breaking the top 600 in the world and
winning two singles titles in her first year on tour. Now Ka has no intention of slowing down, her
sights firmly set on the Grand Slams. Trendz sat down with Cambodia’s inspiring tennis star to
talk about her career and plans for the future.

When did you begin playing tennis? How did you become interested?

I started at the age of 8 because my parents and two older sisters were playing. It was easy to pick
up as it became a sport we would play on the weekends as a family.

You were born and raised in France, how does playing in Cambodia compare to playing in France?

I was born France and have been playing for Cambodia since 2011 due to my Cambodian origins.
Tennis in France is very developed and there are many facilities to practice. Here in Cambodia, it
is different as everything got destroyed after the Khmer Rouge. That is why helping Tennis
Cambodia is very important to me. The fact that I am playing internationally shows the whole
world that tennis is still alive in Cambodia, despite the tough past the country has had.

Tell me about the development of your career. How did you know that you wanted to be a tennis
player?

My parents and sisters have always supported me throughout my career. I realized pretty early
that I maybe had a chance in tennis, as every coach I had from a young age told me I was pretty
talented. I’ve always been surrounded by people giving me support, who believed in me and
helped me improved every day. At the age of 13, I went to Toulouse, France because the French
Federation opened a national team training center there. I’ve always been very serious about
tennis. I was nationally top 4 in my age category when I was 18 years old and was ranked #760
by Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

Where in the world has tennis, both competing and training, taken you?

Tennis has always been very important to me. It’s part of my life since I was 8 years old. Thanks
to it, I had the chance to get a scholarship to the University of San Francisco from 2012-2016 and
graduated with an Advertising/Marketing major. Tennis also gave me the opportunity to play for
Cambodia internationally and gave me the chance to participate to the South-East Asia games and
the ASIAN Games.

Growing up, were there any players who inspired you?

When I was young, I was a very big fan of Kim Clijsters. I was very inspired by her game and the
way she plays. In the men’s game, I’ve always been a huge fan of Roger Federer. I believe he is the
most inspiring player on tour and I have learnt a lot from him.

You’ve already achieved incredible things as Cambodia’s number one tennis player, such as
breaking the top 600. What do you see as your biggest achievement in your career?

I only started playing on tour since June 2016, only a year ago. I’ve already won two ITF singles
titles and three ITF doubles titles. I jumped in the rankings, having my highest ranking of #520 in
the world. I think those tournaments have been my biggest achievement in my career, that has
just started, and I know many more are coming!

And what about the future?

It has been great to make history for Tennis Cambodia, to break into the top 600 but also to be
the first Cambodian tennis player to win a professional tournament. My goal is to reach the top
150-200 in order to access the Grand Slams qualifying, but my ultimate goal is to be in the top
100 in the world. I think this is really achievable.

How do you see the future of women’s sport in Cambodia, particularly tennis?

I think Tennis Cambodia has grown and developed so much since I first came in 2011. The
women’s team is growing, we have another player from the US, Chhinda Som, and two other girls
who will also join us for the SEA Games this year. I hope my career will inspire more young girls
to join us, and see that nothing is impossible!

What advice would you give young Cambodian’s hoping to pursue a sporting career?

I would definitely support each of them to dream big and give all they have to make it happen. As
I said, nothing is impossible, all we need is to believe! Never stop believing…

 

BY: LARA GOODWIN

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