Fri, 08 Dec 2000

Indonesia to retain winning Davis Cup team

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) announced on Thursday the team that will face Uzbekistan early next year in the Davis Cup Group I Asia Oceania zone tie.

Indonesia will keep its winning team -- Suwandi, Hendri Susilo Pramono, Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo -- from its Group II match against Chinese Taipei in October. Indonesia defeated Chinese Taipei 4-1 to earn a promotion to Group I.

Pelti official in charge of athlete development, Sudjiono Timan, said during a breaking the fast event the players were named to the team based on a strategy, not merely on their national rankings.

"We want to retain the team that won the last Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei. We realize that Uzbekistan is a strong team," he said.

Indonesia is scheduled to meet Uzbekistan from Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 in Jakarta, most likely at the Kemayoran Tennis Center in Central Jakarta.

"Suwandi has had some awesome achievements. Hendri was brilliant against Taipei but he may not be fit enough to play five sets. During his five-set match against Taipei he had foot cramps.

"Discussing the doubles, we decided not to play Suwandi because he doesn't have a permanent partner. We also think that Hendri will not be ready to play both singles and doubles with partner Febi Widhiyanto over three consecutive days.

"Therefore we named our veteran doubles team of Bonit and Sulistyo. They are more experienced, disciplined and consistent. They are physically and mentally strong and they can set a good example for the younger players."

Sudjiono further defended Pelti's choice of Bonit and Sulistyo, saying the younger players were less disciplined.

"In a 1999 Satellite event here, I had to argue with the umpire because a young Indonesian player was 30 minutes late to the court for a match that should have began at 9:30 a.m. We did not announce it to the public, but Pelti officials just can't accept such an attitude."

Suwandi, Bonit and Sulistyo have signaled their willingness to represent Indonesia in the Davis Cup match.

"We're still waiting for Hendri's response. If he refuses the offer, we will ask Febi and should Febi also refuse we will try to approach other players like Peter Handoyo, Andrian Raturandang or even veteran Dede Suhendar," Sudjiono said.

Nonplaying captain Tintus Arianto Wibowo said only Suwandi was really prepared for the match.

"This year alone, Suwandi competed in five Satellite and Futures tournaments abroad, while others only trained at home. Suwandi can compete abroad because he borrows money from Ibu Martina Wijaya (Pelti's head of development, promotion and international relations) to finance his trips."

Tintus, a former national player, also said the players were free to choose their own coaches. "It's OK for me if all the players train together one week before the first match. They can all train with their coaches." (ivy)