Thu, 09 Nov 2000

No men's events next year: Pelti

JAKARTA (JP): Disappointed by the performance of its men's tennis players, the Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) has decided not to stage any men's tournaments next year, saying it will concentrate only on women and junior's events.

"We tried hard to secure sponsorships for our athletes but still they were easily beaten by foreign players, and the prize money was mostly taken by the foreigners," Pelti's head of development, promotion and international relations, Martina Widjaja, said on Wednesday.

"Therefore, we will only concentrate on junior and women's satellite tournaments next year."

No Indonesian player was able to grab the men's singles title in the six Future tournaments held by Pelti this year. Indonesia only managed the men's doubles title in several legs of the tournaments, thanks to the veteran partnership of Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo, and Hendri Susilo Pramono and Febi Widhiyanto.

For the juniors, Pelti will stage eight tournaments next year in an effort to groom more youngsters.

"However, Pelti still needs the approval of the International Tennis Federation. We expect the young players will get more playing experience.

"To enable them to play even more, Pelti is introducing a new three-layer system for local players, where players can play in lower age groups," Martina said.

Players who fail to qualify in the 18-year-old age group or who are defeated in the first round can still compete in the group for the 16 year olds. Those who fail in this age group will be allowed to take part in the age 14 group.

"Hopefully, using this system lots of players will play more matches even if they are beaten in their own age group.

"Pelti is also considering organizing the tournaments not only in Jakarta, but also in several other cities with strong tennis backgrounds," Martina said.

Pelti will stage two junior tournaments this month. The International Youth Tournament will take place from Nov. 20 to Nov. 26 at the Senayan tennis complex. This will be followed by the Youth Star Masters from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30 at the same venue.

"There are about 30 players from Australia, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand who have registered for the events. We still expect more players in the coming week," said Pelti official Johannes Susanto.

Pelti also announced it needed young people between the ages of 18 and 25 and fluent in English to serve as tennis umpires.

"Being a tennis umpire will mean enough money to support yourself. A starting umpire, the wide-badge ones, receive US$350 a week, with miscellaneous fares and expenses paid by the tournament committee.

"The better-qualified umpires, broad-badge ones, receive $700, while silver badges get $1,000 a week," said Johannes. (nvn)