‘Tricky tie’ up ahead-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
WITH the controversy in their tie against Pakistan now behind them, the New Zealand team is now focused on the task at hand—win this tie against the Philippines and be promoted to the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group 1.
“What happened against Pakistan was the referee’s decision. It was already out of our control. We are now getting ready for the match in front of us. We are here to win this,” said Artem Sitak.
In their tie against Pakistan last April, the referee awarded the victory to New Zealand after the grass court became unplayable.
Pakistan was the host of the tie but it was played in Myanmar, a neutral country, because of security reasons.
Pakistan appealed but the ITF stood by the referee’s decision. On their official website, ITF cited a Davis Cup regulation, which states that “the referee may call off a tie and award the victory to the visiting nation if the home nation fails to provide a playable court”; and regulation 44(e), which states that “the decision of the referee is final.”
The court was in poor condition leading the referee to use the practice court as the match court. But the referees found the court deteriorated and it was deemed unplayable.
This weekend, they will be playing on a new court, under the sweltering Lapu-Lapu heat and against a more confident Philippine team. And the New Zealand team says it is ready.
“This is a new tie against a new team. We can’t predict the outcome but we have prepared and we have the confidence.. We are getting excited for the weekend,” said Marcus Daniell.
The New Zealand-PHL team Asia/Oceania Zone Group 2 finals will start this Friday at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.
Both teams hope to win this tie and be promoted to Group 1 next year.
The visiting team is also composed of skipper Alastair Hunt, New Zeland’s top player Rubin Jose Statham, Michael Venus and Sitak. They started arriving last week and have been trying to get accustomed to the hot weather in Cebu as well as the different surface.
“It’s definitely hot here but we have been playing and the longer we have been here, the more comfortable we become,” said Venus.
He added that they are looking forward to playing on the shell court, something they have not played on before.
Venus, along with Statham and Sitak, just came from the US $50,000 Challenger event in Shanghai and have been hitting well since they have arrived in Cebu.
Statham was earlier reported to skip the tie but he came anyway.
“We will just take care of the matches and be in control. We will just get ready and go out there and let’s see what happens with the tie,” said Statham.
“This is an important tie. He (Statham) is here and that’s what counts,” said Venus.
Venus added that the Philippine team’s Treat Huey making it to the quarterfinal round of the US Open men’s doubles will have added to their opponents’ confidence.
“This is going to be tricky tie. He is becoming more confident,” said Venus.
Huey, Johnny Arcilla, Francis Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales will be bannering the country’s colors in this tie.
Huey said he has a lot of confidence going into the final as it has been a good year for them.
“For sure, I am confident going into this tie. We are all comfortable going into the matches. This is a good year for us, we will continue playing well,” said Huey.
The PHL team said it will not give in easily to the Kiwis as they felt that they are more ready than they were during their tie against Thailand last April.
The country’s No. 1 player Arcilla said he is also very prepared.
“I am more ready this time and I feel confident with this tie especially with the line-up we have. Everyone has been out of the country competing in different events to prepare for this,” said Arcilla.
Huey reached the quarterfinal round of the men’s doubles of the US Open; Gonzalez reached the semifinal round in the men’s doubles in Romania, while Alcantara came from another tournament and training in the US.
Lapu-Lapu City is hosting this tie for the fifth time. This is the second time that Alcantara will be playing for the Philippine team and will be his first to play against New Zealand.
“We will just focus on the game, just one match at a time,” said Alcantara.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, who has been instrumental in last April’s match against Thailand after upsetting thai’s no. 1 player Danai Udomchoke, will try to replicate the success that saw the team break into the final tie.
“The experience gave me a lot of confidence. We have been preparing for this tie and I believe we are all ready,” said Gonzalez.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 11, 2013.