Paradorn Srichaphan

REUTERS

THAI tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan hopes to perform well in front of his home crowd at the first ever ATP tournament to be held in Thailand this September, his father and coach said. Chanachai Srichaphan said several top-10 players were intending to take part in the Thailand Open, which will be held at the Impact Arena Stadium in suburban Bangkok from September 22 to 28.

Chanachai said he expected U.S. star Andy Roddick, Spain's Carlos Moya, and French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero to contest the tournament.

Asian stars tipped to play in Bangkok include former world number one doubles player, India's Leander Paes, he said. "Paradorn hopes to do well in the tournament in Bangkok, to impress his Thai fans," Chanachai said in a statement. Paradorn, the first Asian player to break into the top 10, is hugely popular in Thailand and has won fame the world over with his lucky red shirt and traditional "wai" greeting after matches.

The likeable 23-year-old champion is an official cultural ambassador for his homeland and has a special diplomatic passport to accompany that status.