International Tennis at our doorstep
after four years
After a laps of four years the Lankan tennis fans who were starved to top quality international Tennis will get their opportunity again when Sri Lanka host seven countries in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group 3 tie from July 18 to 22 at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) courts.
The countries making the trip to Sri Lanka are Lebanon, Malaysia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Singapore. Sri Lanka will be the eighth nation to participate in this tie.
The countries that finish first and second will be promoted to group 2 while the seventh and eighth countries will be relegated to group 4. Sri Lanka participated in group 3 last year too which was held in Manila, Philippines and finished third.
For the first time in Sri Lanka this tournament will be conducted on the hard courts that were completed two months ago. The total cost for building these courts was Rs. 15 million and initiated by past president Suresh Subramaniam.
The format of this tournament is that the eight teams will be divided into two groups and played on a round robin basis.
The first two teams from each group will be picked to play in the semi-final and final.
Subramaniam, who is the past president and currently the secretary of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF), said that the Sri Lankan players have been playing on hard courts during international tournaments and they have been training on hard courts.
Rajeev Rajapaksa and Harshana Godamanna Sri Lanka’s most experienced players have been practicing on hard courts and said that they prefer to play on this type of courts as the ball will have an even bounce thus easier to rally.
Rohan de Silva will be the non-playing captain of the Lankan team. He was a member of the Davis Cup team from 1989 to 2006.
The other members in the squad are, Harshana Godamanna, Rajeev Rajapaksa, Dinusha Wijesuriya, Sankha Atukorale, Udith Wickremasinghe, Michael Siyaguna with Ganendran Subramaniam as the coach. Swiss coach Dominik Utzinger, who had trained Roger Federer during his young days is looking after the Lankan team at present. The squad will be sent to Thailand for more training under Utzinger just before the Davis Cup tie in Sri Lanka.
DIMO will be the principal sponsor of this tie. The other sponsors for this event are Coca Cola, Coats Thread Lanka, Natures Secrets, Red Bull, and NOLIMIT with Taj Hotel as the official hotel. Wijeya Newspapers, MTV Channel and the MBC Network are the media sponsors for this event.
Speaking on the security situation in Sri Lanka and the safety of the foreign players, new president of the SLTA Janaka Bogollagama said that all teams have confirmed their participation. “Discussions have been held with top security officials and they have assured of extending tight security to the foreign players during the tennis tie,” confirmed Bogollagama.