Thu, 25 Mar 1999

Hopes rest on Suwandi in first match of Davis Cup

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia is banking on its first singles player Suwandi to get his team off to a winning start in the first match of the Davis Cup Group II Asia Oceania zone against the Philipines here early next month.

Coach Deddy Prasetyo said on Wednesday that expectations were high for Suwandi to win against the Philippine second singles player, likely to be Bryan M. Juinio.

"Suwandi must win his match because our second singles Febi (Widhiyanto) only has a 50-50 chance against Filipino first singles Joseph Lizardo in the second match. We'll be lucky if Febi can also win," he said.

The squad of Suwandi, Febi, Edy Kusdaryanto and Hendri Susilo Pramono will meet the Philippines from April 2 to April 4 at the Senayan indoor tennis stadium.

The visitors, set to arrive on Sunday, forwarded a team list consisting of Lizardo, Juinio, Adelo S. Abadia and Michael John F. Misa. They will be accompanied by nonplaying captain Martin F. Misa.

Deddy was relieved by the absence of Cecil Mamiit, holder of dual U.S.-Philippine citizenship. Mamiit, world ranked in the low 100s, was a finalist at the Sybase Open in February. He upset world ranked 10 Andre Agassi of the United States. Reports said Mamiit asked a fee of US$50,000 from the Philippine Tennis Association to play in the tie.

"Without Mamiit, we have an equal chance against the Philippines," he said.


Edy and Hendri will likely play in the doubles on the second day and meet Lizardo and Misa.

"Edy and Hendri are doubles players and they get along well. But if, just in case, we lose the first day, we may change our doubles team," Deddy said.

He added he hoped none of his players would have to play singles and doubles matches. Reverse singles matches are played on the third day.

The Filipinos will have four days to practice on the Rebound Ace court.

"They don't have problems with the weather here. It all depends on their adaptation to the court," Deddy said.

Earlier, Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) deputy secretary-general Benny Mailili criticized the Pelti official in charge of athlete development, Sujiono Timan, who often practices with the Davis Cup team members.

"If he wants to be involved in athletes development, he must arrange good programs for them instead of playing with them. It will disrupt the players' program and concentration," he said.

Suwandi admitted he felt inconvenienced by Sujiono's presence, which he said disturbed the team's training program.

If Indonesia wins the second playoff, it will meet the winner of the tie between Thailand and Iran in September to fight for a berth in Group I.

The Philippines earlier asked Pelti to move the location to a neutral country and to reschedule the match to July due to security fears before the June 7 general election. (yan)