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Volume 10 No. 25
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Former Japanese Tennis Player Konoshita To Fund $10M Cambodian Tennis Academy

Former Japanese professional tennis player-turned-business magnate Mitsuji Konoshita "is ready to open his purse on a multimillion-dollar project to create a tennis academy in Cambodia," according to H.S. Manjunath of the PHNOM PENH POST. The president of the Cambodia-based GL Finance wants to re-create for talented Cambodian youngsters his own experiences "of training in an advanced academy like that of Australian great Harry Hopman's in Tampa, Florida, or of Nick Bolitieri, the American coach credited with developing the careers of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Monica Seles." Konoshita spoke with Manjunath "about the proposed academy, his passion for the game and his deep involvement with the Cambodian Tennis Federation."

Q: Can you outline this project, the logistics, cost estimates and location?
Mitsuji Konoshita
: What I am looking at is an academy with 20 to 30 courts, a team of good coaches, an integrated school for players to pursue their education while training, a dormitory to house them and specialized gyms for working out. The cost of the project could be anywhere between $10 million and $20 million.

Q: You mentioned a shortlist of venues. Do you have a city in mind?
Konoshita: The short answer is yes. It's Kep. It has breathtaking scenic beauty. Most importantly, it is a safe and secure town, and the safety of the players is of paramount importance. It is not final. We are looking at other alternatives as well.

Q: As a major supporter of the Tennis Federation of Cambodia, what are your expectations from a sponsorship standpoint?
Konoshita: Quite honestly, for me, sponsoring tennis is not a business proposition. I'm not looking for any mileage for my company. The mileage I seek is for the cause of tennis. If that is served, my investment is worthwhile (PHNOM PENH POST, 12/11).