For debutants Cambodia, life in the Davis Cup began with a three-rubber match-up against regional rivals Singapore late yesterday evening as the 2012 Asia Oceania Group IV series started at the sprawling Khalifa International Tennis and Squash complex in Doha.
At the official draw on Sunday, Cambodia was bracketed in Pool B alongside Singapore, Myanmar, Jordan and Qatar. Pool A is made up of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Turkmenistan.
In this compressed format, the top two teams in each pool will play criss-cross semifinals with the finalists earning promotion to Group III next year.
Cambodia will take on hosts Qatar today followed by Myanmar tomorrow. After a day of rest, Cambodia will wind up their round robin with a tie against Jordan on Friday.
“In Davis Cup there is nothing like a favourable or unfavourable draw. The competition is stiff. Our aim, just as any other nine teams here, is to reach the top and get into Group III. We are ready and eager to go,” Cambodia’s non-playing captain Tep Rithivit told the Post after Sunday’s draw.
“It is good to be in a group where we know at least two of our regional friends, Singapore and Myanmar,” he added.
Head coach Braen Aneiros noted that the practice sessions had gone well and players were “in great heart”.
The change in time zone could be a crucial factor for Cambodian players, with the start of the first rubber in Doha set for 3:30pm local time, which translates to 7:30pm Cambodian time. However, coach Aneiros for one felt his players could handle it with slight adjustments.
Cambodia pitched in Bun Kenny and Mam Panhara for the first two singles rubbers, while keeping the doubles option open with Mam Vetu as the third element.
Singapore’s singles challenge was likely to be in the hands of captain Daniel Heriyanta Dewandaka and Roy Hobbs, who interestingly made an early exit from one of the local tournaments that Bun Kenny won in Phnom Penh a few months ago.
In the entire group of 10, Singapore have played more Davis Cup matches than the rest and are heading towards the 100-rubber mark. The result of Cambodia’s inaugural Davis Cup match against the city-state came in after time of print.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]