Sat, 13 Mar 1999

Suwandi may play in Davis Cup tie

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's best tennis player Suwandi will likely play singles and doubles in the Davis Cup Group II Asia Oceania zone semifinal here early next month.

Coach Dedy Prasetyo told reporters on Friday that Suwandi has shown great improvement in his physical condition recently.

"Suwandi has tried hard to chase Febi in physical training. It's good because his weakness was his physical condition. If Suwandi is on top form, he is likely to compete in the singles and doubles," he said.

Indonesia's team -- comprising Suwandi, Edy Kusdaryanto, Febi Widhiyanto and Hendri Susilo Pramono -- will meet the Philippines, consisting of Joseph Lizardo, Bryan Juinio and Michael Misa, at the Senayan indoor stadium from April 2 to April 4.

Dedy said the partnership of Suwandi and Edy was the best as they had beaten Febi and Hendri in their four meetings.

Players will have a simulation match on Saturday. In the doubles, former national team member Bonit Wiryawan will partner Febi to challenge Edy and Suwandi. In the singles, Febi will meet either Cahyono or Samsuddin Pare. Another simulation will take place next week.

Dedy said that Hendri, who played in the doubles in the first match against Qatar last month, had beaten senior Dede Suhendar Dinata in a simulation.

However, the coach hoped none of national players would have to compete in both singles and doubles.

"I admit I'm confused about the perfect line-up of players because the Filipinos are strong. I just hope none of them has to play both," he said.

Indonesia is expecting the Philippines to submit the names of its players by March 23.

Dedy said he could not name his first or second singles before receiving the opponent's names.

"I'm sure that Lizardo will play the first singles. But we're still not sure if Cecil Mamiit is playing," he said. Mamiit is an American and a Philippines passport holder. Reports indicate he has asked the Philippines Tennis Association to pay him US$50,000 for the match.

Dedy said the players would reach their peak one weak prior to the match.

"We only need to maintain their condition and discuss their mental preparation with psychologist Joe Rumeser," he said.

Separately, Febi said he would be ready if he had to play singles and doubles.

"I'm ready. We have been training really hard after coming home from Qatar. I'm sure we have an equal chance with the Philippines," said the 19-year-old.

Febi said he did not really care if he is fielded as the first or second singles.

"It doesn't really matter to me. I have never met the Filipinos in satellite tournaments before," he said.

The Philippines had asked Indonesia to move the match to a neutral country and reschedule it for July but the host declined the request, saying Indonesia would fully guarantee the Filipinos safety from their arrival. (yan)