Tue, 02 Aug 1994

RI hosts Switzerland on rebound-ace court

JAKARTA (JP): Host Indonesia has opted to use the rebound-ace court at Senayan tennis indoor stadium for its Davis Cup World Group qualifying round matches against giant Switzerland next month for long-term strategic reasons.

Eddie Katimansah, secretary general of the Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti), said yesterday the Benny Wijaya-led team will not be under pressure to win the five-tie battle. Instead, Pelti wants the matches to serve as the final testing ground for the Indonesian team before it enters the Asian Games tennis competitions, Eddie added.

The tennis competition in the continent's greatest sporting meet in Hiroshima, Japan, in October will use a hard court surface, more or less the same type as that in the Senayan tennis stadium.

"Whatever surface we choose, the Swiss Davis Cup team will be a very tough challenge," Eddie said. "We have a target of forcing them to labor all the way."

Indonesia used to choose clay courts to host a Davis Cup tie, and history has proven that the choice of a slow court has helped Indonesia win. Things will be different when Indonesia has to play Switzerland on a harder surface.

Eddie said winning gold medals in the Asian Games is a more realistic goal than beating Switzerland, a losing finalist to the United States in 1992.

"Playing a world-rated team is a rare and precious experience since we are preparing for the Asiad," Eddie said. "Just imagine how much money we would need to invite world's best players for a sparring session with us," the national tennis figure joked.

Special assignment

Benny, Suwandi, Bonit Wiryawan and Donny Susetyo, the backbone for the national Davis Cup team, will have a four-week tour in four cities in Indonesia from Aug. 20 to Sept. 18 before meeting with Switzerland.

"The coach now has a special assignment to lead his players to gain their peak form during the Asian Games," Eddie said.

The national team for the men's tennis team championship will be coached by Wailan Walalangi who brought Indonesia to a narrow 3-2 win over South Korea last May for a place in the World Group qualifying round.

Indonesia-Switzerland matches will be held in three sessions from Sept. 23-to Sept. 25. The European side will likely parade Olympic gold medalist Marc Rosset, a towering two-meter player ranked 19 in the world, and currently world number 57 Jakob Hlasek. Both formed a triumphant team in the 1992 French Open.

Winner of the three-day matches will secure a place in the 1995 World Group which fields 16 of the world's best tennis playing countries. Switzerland was one of eight teams relegated from the World Group last year.

Indonesia entered the elite group twice in 1982 and 1988 by beating South Korea, but lost to Sweden and Germany respectively. (amd)