Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Febi, Hendri hoped to lift RI's Davis Cup performance

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian tennis players Febi Widhiyanto and Hendri Susilo Pramono are expected to help the country's Davis Cup team reach Group I in its next tie against China Taipei in October.

Coach Deddy Prasetyo said on Monday: "We aim to lift Indonesia's position in group II to reach group I as we did in the 1980s."

Taipei will likely be backboned by Liem Bing Chiao, formerly Indonesian player Benny Wijaya, and Tsai Chia Yen.

Deddy said the Indonesian team would have problems facing Chinese Taipei in the tie from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8 in Jakarta, especially due to Liem's presence.

"It's really difficult to tame Benny (Liem), whose ATP ranking is in the 800s, as he used to be our number one player. I hope Febi and Hendri can learn valuable lessons on their European tour next month," he said.

Febi, whose ATP ranking is 762, said: "Competing against higher ranking players in the Bundesliga has given me an opportunity to improve my performance, especially on clay courts."

Febi and Hendri, who returned from competing in the BW Schwetzingen club tournaments in southern Germany last week, won five singles and four doubles titles during their competitions in the Bundesliga. They returned to Indonesia to compete in the 15th National Games (PON) in Surabaya next week.

Both players will return to Germany on July 3, before competing in the US$10,000 Future tournaments in Santander and Oviedo in Spain in early September. They will likely play in similar tournaments in Italy before flying back to Jakarta a week prior to the Davis Cup tie.

Indonesia reached the third round of the Davis Cup Group II Zone Asia Oceania after beating the Philippines in the first tie and Malaysia in the second.

Febi and Hendri's contract with German-based PT Asuransi Allianz Utama Indonesia is to be extended through 2001.

"We aim to continue the plan for both Febi and Hendri to play in the German tennis club next year," said president director of the company Manfred Wittau. Allianz has been sponsoring the Indonesians during their competition in the Bundesliga.

Deddy also said Febi and Hendri had been offered the chance of joining a bigger club in the German league involving double contract fees. (yan)