Fri, 11 Feb 2000

RI-Malaysia Davis Cup tie to be held in KL

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia will lose the home-court advantage in its second round Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone Group II match against Malaysia in April, as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has named Kuala Lumpur to host the event.

Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) spokesman Benny Mailili said on Thursday that although the association had sent a letter to the ITF protesting the decision, the federation was not expected to reverse itself.

"We have looked back in our files and realized that for no reason Indonesia turned down an offer to host its Davis Cup match against Malaysia in 1982 when the late Yono Sewoyo chaired Pelti," Benny said.

A letter from ITF dated Nov. 19, 1999, and signed by Debbie Banlett, asked Pelti officials to explain why Indonesia opted to play in Kuala Lumpur instead of Jakarta in 1982.

Former Davis Cup team member Atet Wijono could not recall the reason for the decision, only saying the players at that time preferred competing abroad because they received more allowance than when they competed at home.

Benny said the ITF had yet to respond to Pelti's letter protesting the decision to hold this year's Davis Cup match in Kuala Lumpur, but he assumed the federation would simply say it was Malaysia's turn to host the event.

Indonesia reached the second round of the Davis Cup after defeating the Philippines 4-1 in Manila from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6. The Davis Cup team of Suwandi, Febi Widhiyanto, Hendri Susilo Pramono and Edy Kusdaryanto will play Malaysia from April 7 to April 9. The winner of the match will then face either Pakistan or Chinese Taipei.

Benny said the Davis Cup team would not be at too much of a disadvantage competing in Kuala Lumpur.

"I have seen a trend since the 1990s for our players to usually win when they compete abroad and to usually lose when playing at home.

"Perhaps it's because they don't have as much pressure abroad as here," he said.

Suwandi said he would have no difficulties playing in Kuala Lumpur. "I think it doesn't matter playing there. I'm ready for the match."

Edy, however, regretted the ITF's decision. "I prefer to play here because we get the support from the local fans. We are used to the courts, the spectators and the weather.

"But for other players like Suwandi, I know that he is uncomfortable playing here because our supporters sometimes make rude comments to him," he said. (yan)