Thu, 03 Jul 2003

RI picks junior for Germany tie

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) has included junior Septi Mende in the women's team for the upcoming matches against Germany over the next two weeks.

Indonesia will host Germany in the play-offs of the Fed Cup here from July 19-20 with the winner qualifying for the World Group.

"We have picked Septi because we want to give a young and potential player a fighting chance in a world level competition for the sake of his future performance," Pelti chairwoman Martina Wijaya said here on Wednesday.

Septi, 17, failed to defend her title at the recent Thamrin Cup, losing to Maya Rosa. Nevertheless, teamed up with Sandy Gumulya, who is already on the Fed Cup team, she triumphed in the doubles, a feat which appeared to impress Martina.

"She has shown she is a good player. She deserves a place in the team," Martina said.

Indonesia has secured a berth in the playoffs after its triumphant performance in the regional matches in Tokyo in April.

Ahead of its Germany match, to be played at the newly- renovated Senayan Tennis Stadium, the team has decided to make a change with the inclusion of Septi.

With Septi in, Suzanna Anggarkusuma, who contributed a point in the doubles during the Tokyo outing, will now concentrate on her coaching work.

While Septi and Sandy will compliment the list, Angelique 'Angie' Widjaja and Wynne Prakusya are set to continue their decisive roles in the team.

Both were Indonesian hopefuls at Wimbledon but Wynne has been forced out after she failed in the women's doubles and mixed doubles. She had to abandon her singles effort when she fell short of reaching the main draw.

After her singles' bid ended in the second round, Angie is still around after she made it to the quarterfinals in the doubles with her partner, Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela.

"Hopefully, the players can gather next week to start the workout," Martina said.

The matches will be played inside the Senayan Tennis Stadium, which now has a hard court after a month-long refurbishment. It used to be a clay court.

"The players want to play the matches on a hardcourt, while the international procedures require the matches be played inside in a venue with a seating capacity of at least 4,000," said Subronto Laras, the team manager, explaining the urgency of the refurbishment.

Meanwhile, AFP reported United States Fed Cup captain Billie Jean King wants America's top women's tennis players to stay home if they cannot commit to a full week of training and matches.

That stance has led to world number one Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport being kept off the roster when the U.S. team plays Italy in a quarterfinal tie July 19-20 in Washington.