Sports
SLTA to host Davis Cup 2007
by Revata S. Silva

The hosting of the historical Davis Cup in Sri Lanka next July was officially announced by the Sri Lanka Tennis Association at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka features in the Davis Cup, the major international team tennis event in the world, in the Asia Oceania Zone Group-III and has been aiming for a Group-II promotion for seven long years. They came close to doing so, and in fact missed it by a margin of a single match at last yearís event held in the Philippines.

Group-III of the Asia-Oceania Zone Davis Cup 2007 will be held with the participation of eight countries from July 18-22 at the newly built Rs.15 million outdoor hard courts at the SLTA in Colombo. The courts were declared open on March 24, only two months ago, by former Davis Cup player Arjan Perera.

"There were more outstations engaged in tennis those days. Our (the SLTAís) approach has become more professional now. Therefore, the sole intention is to revive the old glory of tennis in Sri Lanka," said SLTA President Janaka Bogollagama.

While tracing the history of the prestigious annual event, Suresh Subramaniam, a five time SLTA President and the present Gen. Secretary of the Asian Tennis Federation, revealed that Sri Lanka held 17th place out of 33 Asian tennis playing countries and stated that Sri Lanka has a great chance this time to obtain Group-II promotion.

Meanwhile, Vasantha Wijesekara, head of the organising committee, revealed that the SLTA has spent over $10,000 for training of this yearís Davis Cup team which will comprise top players, Harshana Godamanna and Renouk Wijemanne, who have undergone training in Thailand in preparation for the mega event.

"This is the most vital event for us and we donít see any reason why we canít achieve our target this time. The next one-and-half months will be fully dedicated to training of the five-member team here in Sri Lanka and in Thailand as well. We should be able to finish within the top two and be promoted," added Vasantha.

DIMO is the principal sponsor of this yearís Davis Cup and the event will be telecast live on Sirasa and MTV.

This yearís participating Nations

(Asia-Oceania Zone, Group-III):

Lebanon and Malaysia (relegated from last yearís Group-II), Sri Lanka (last yearís Group-III 3rd place holder), Saudi Arabia (4th place), Vietnam (5th), Singapore (6th) and UAE and Oman (both were promoted from last yearís Group-IV)

Sri Lanka Team

Rohan de Silva (Non Playing Captain), Harshana Godamanne, Renouk Wijemanne, Rajive Rajapakse, Sankha Atukorale and Dinusha Wijesuriya. Coach - Ganendran Subramaniam, Physio - Ranil Harshana, Coach based in Thailand - Dominik Utzinger and Wallbank Philip, (Trainer).

First Year Played: 1953

Years Played: 47

Ties Played: 97 (Won 40 Ė Lost 57)

Sri Lanka last hosted the Davis Cup in 2003 and has hosted the Davis Cup 25 times (years)

SLís progress since the new Zonal system was introduced in 1988

1988-1996: in Group-II

1997 & 1998: played in Group-III

1999: back in Group-II

2000 & 2001: again in Group-III

2002-2004: in Group-IV, the last Group

2005 up to 2007: plays again in Group-III

Sri Lanka in Davis Cup

 

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