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Thai Hero Srichaphan To Return

Bangkok, Thailand

Paradorn Srichaphan© Getty ImagesParadorn Srichaphan has not played on the ATP World Tour since March 2007.

Former ATP World Tour No. 9 Paradorn Srichaphan makes a return to competitive tennis this week as a wild card entrant into the doubles draw at the Thailand Open. The Bangkok native will team up with countryman Danai Udomchoke at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.

The 30-year-old Srichaphan had been sidelined with a recurring right wrist injury since March 2007, when he retired against Luis Horna in the Sony Ericsson Open first round. He underwent surgery in Los Angeles in October later that year.

In the first round of his comeback, Srichaphan and Udomchoke will face German-Austrian duo Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Peya. Srichaphan and Udomchoke also paired together at the 2005 Thailand Open, when they reached the quarter-finals (l. to Hanley-Paes).

Before being struck down by injury, Srichaphan had enjoyed a glittering career and peaked at No. 9 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on 12 May 2005. He contested 11 ATP World Tour finals and won five titles, beginning with the If Stockholm Open in 2002 (d. Rios). His most recent title came at the 2004 AEGON International (d. Thomas Johansson), when it was held in Nottingham.

The right-hander made his Grand Slam breakthrough at 2002 Wimbledon, when he defeated the then World No. 4 Andre Agassi in the second round. He was subsequently named the ATP’s Most Improved Player at the end of the season. His best results were fourth-round efforts at 2003 Wimbledon (l. to Roddick), the 2003 US Open (l. to Hewitt) and the 2004 Australian Open (l. to Agassi).

Srichaphan is a national hero in his native country and enjoyed strong performances at the Thailand Open, reaching the semi-finals from 2004-06. The 2002 “Thai of the Year” carried his country’s flag in the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and was issued a red diplomatic passport when he was named Thai cultural ambassador.

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