Fri, 18 Jul 2003

German tennis team unconcerned about Indonesian humidity

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The humid conditions in Jakarta will not affect the German players in their Fed Cup women's tennis team matches against the host team, Germany's non-playing captain Klaus Eberhard says.

Eberhard said that they had been well-prepared for the conditions and were ready for tough games against Indonesia.

Speaking to reporters after the draw ceremony at the Peninsula Hotel here on Thursday, Eberhard said his players were professionals who were able to play in any kind of conditions.

"We've been here for a week. We have had enough time to prepare. It's hot but we are accustomed to it as it is currently hot in Germany as well," he said.

The squad, fresh from Germany that is experiencing a heatwave this summer, arrived here last week in a bid to acclimatize to the high humidity.

"It is definitely more humid here, but we believe that the players can win the matches," Eberhard added.

The Indonesian team will certainly face a tough challenge from two-time winners Germany in a two-day play-off on Saturday and Sunday at the Senayan tennis stadium.

Despite the potentially tough encounters, the Indonesian team appears equally confident and has high hopes of reaching the World Group.

Team ace Angelique Widjaja rated the German team as being strong and said that she was looking forward to playing against them.

"There is nothing more I can say ... except that I am ready to play and fulfill everyone's expectations," she said.

Angie, as Angelique Widjaja is more familiarly known, will lead a four-strong host team, the other three members of which are Wynne Prakusya, Sandy Gumulya and Septi Mende.

Wynne, whose current Women's Tennis Association (WTA) ranking is 120, will begin Indonesia's campaign on Saturday against Anca Barna (62). This will be followed by a match between Angie (70) and Barbara Rittner (89). The game starts at 1 p.m.

Players will switch opponents on the second day with Angie- Barna taking to the court first.

The host team has also decided that Angie and Wynne will play in the doubles, in which the visiting team will face Angelika Roesch (107) and Vanessa Henke (218).

Anca said she would strive for a win against Wynne to clear way to take overall victory.

"I think, if I win the first game it should give us more confidence in following through later," she said.

Currently, Germany, which won the Fed Cup in 1987 and 1992, is ranked 11th by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) while Indonesia is 16th.

Germany has been consigned to the play-offs after losing to defending champion Slovakia in the first quarterfinals of the World Group.

Indonesia has been awarded a berth in the play-offs after finishing at the top with Japan in the regional tournament in Japan in April.

Japan is drawn against Sweden. Other ties are Argentina vs Hungary, Australia vs Colombia, Austria vs Canada, Croatia vs Brazil, South Africa vs Czech Republic and Switzerland vs Israel.

The winners of the play-offs will qualify for the World Group next year.