Sun, 01 Oct 2000

Benny to miss D. Cup clash against RI

JAKARTA (JP): Former Indonesian top player Benny Wijaya, who now plays for Chinese Taipei, has confirmed that he will miss the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group 2 final here next week, an official said on Saturday.

Soebronto Laras, who chairs the event's organizing committee, said the Taiwanese tennis federation did not provide any reasons for Benny's absence.

Benny, or Lin Ping-chao as he is called in Taiwan, led his team to a 3-2 win over Pakistan in the Group 2 play-off match in April and a chance for a place in next season's Group 1 competition against Indonesia.

In his absence, number two Tsai Chia-yen, at 25 is the most senior in his team and will head Taiwan's team which will also include Chen Wei-ju, Chen Wei-jen and Liu Chia-che.

"It's intriguing to find that Benny Wijaya's name is missing from the list of Taiwanese players sent to us, learning that he is now the country's top player," Soebronto said.

He dismissed speculation that Benny refused to make a trip to his former home soil due to fears of a resentful welcome. Benny moved to Taiwan in 1996 when he was dominating the national men's tennis circuit.

Indonesia has picked Suwandi and his junior Hendri Susilo Pramono to play first and second singles respectively and the veteran duo of Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo to play doubles. Febi Widhiyanto stands as the reserve.

Deddy Prasetyo has been appointed coach the team and former national player Tintus Arianto Wibowo will function as the non- playing captain.

Indonesia reached the final after defeating the Philippines 4- 1 in February and Malaysia 5-0 in April.

The Davis Cup tie will be held at Kemayoran tennis center in Central Jakarta from Friday to Sunday. The Chinese Taipei team will arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, with the draw to be made the following day.

Soebronto, who is the Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) official in charge of the competition, expressed his hope that Indonesia would benefit from its home advantage.

The winner of next week's match will face a tough survival test in the Asia Oceania Group 1 as top seed Uzbekistan has been drawn to play in the first round next February.

The loser in Indonesia-Taiwan match will remain in Group 2 as the second seed next season and will meet Pakistan in the first round, also in February.

Indonesia beat Chinese Taipei in their previous two encounters in the 1980s and in September 1996. (ivy)