Thai tennis player Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, aged 17, has won the Wimbledon Junior Girls’ Championship. The Thai youngster, nicknamed Nok (bird), battled back after losing the first set to her French opponent. Noppawan went on to clinch the match in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 and in doing so became the first Thai player to ever lift a title at Wimbledon. Last year Noppawan was defeated in the final by British girl Laura Robson, but this year the Thai player went one better and clinched the Wimbledon Championship. A beaming Noppawan waved and waied to the crowd before also waiing former Wimbledon Ladies Champion, Ann Jones, who presented the trophy. After her victory in the final Noppawan said, ‘I spoke to my parents and they are very happy. I can’t wait to get back to Thailand, but first I want to do some shopping here and go to Wimbledon Village’.
Seeded fourth for this year’s event, the Thai player will no longer be eligible for the junior ranks next year. The Chiang Mai youngster will be hoping to have an even better career at senior level than star Thai tennis player, Tamarine ‘Tammy’ Tanasugarn. Tammy made history for Thai tennis when she reached the quarter final stage of Wimbledon 2008 before losing to eventual tournament champion, Venus Williams. There has never been a tradition of tennis in Thailand, but there has been more interest in the sport in recent years thanks to the high-profile achievements of Tammy and her male counterpart, Paradorn Srichaphan.
Noppawan went on to win the Girls’ Doubles Championship with her playing partner from Australia. The success of the Thai player in the girls’ singles has earned her a place as a wild-card entry into the Wimbledon Ladies Tournament next year.