|Vietnamese-American tennis player Thái Sơn Kwiatkowski will represent Việt Nam at the 31st SEA Games. He is currently ranked No 315 in the world. — Photo streakingthelawn.com|
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese-American tennis player Thái Sơn Kwiatkowski will join the Vietnamese national team to compete at the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which will be held in May in Hà Nội.
Đoàn Thanh Tùng, general secretary of the Việt Nam Tennis Federation, said that they are completing the registration process for Kwiatkowski to compete at the region's largest sporting event.
"Kwiatkowski obtained Vietnamese citizenship last year, so he is eligible to compete in the 31st Games. He is the best player ever to wear the jersey of the national tennis team. He used to be world No 181," said Tùng.
Kwiatkowski, 27, has a Vietnamese mother and a Polish father, but he was born and raised in the US. He is a product of American school sports, where student-athletes combine sports and learning culture.
Kwiatkowski won the men's singles title at the All-American College tennis tournament in 2017. He graduated from the University of Virginia and played tennis professionally in 2018. Up to now, he has participated in four prestigious Grand Slams including the Australian Open, French Open (Roland Garros), US Open and Wimbledon.
The COVID-19 pandemic and injury caused Kwiatkowski to just out on his target of breaking into the world’s top 100 in 2021.
“I am very excited and ready to play for the Vietnamese tennis team at the SEA Games 31, then the Asian Games. Currently, I have a problem with my wrist, but it will recover soon," said Kwiatkowski.
With the presence of Kwiatkowski (now world No 315) alongside Lý Hoàng Nam and Lê Quốc Khánh, the Vietnamese team are expected to win the men's team, men's singles and men's doubles events at the Games this year.
The tennis team further increased their chances of getting medals in the women's events, thanks to the services of Vietnamese-American tennis player Chanelle Vân Nguyễn, currently ranked No 414 in the world.
Nguyễn, who was born in 1994 in Miami, has a Vietnamese father and an American mother. She once played for Hưng Thịnh Club in HCM City, then moved to Hải Đăng Tây Ninh. She will bolster Việt Nam's chances of gold against teams from Thailand and Indonesia.
Vietnamese tennis players aim to take three gold medals at the upcoming SEA Games. VNS