Sunstar – PH to trick Thais on clay

By Iste S. Leopoldo
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

THE Cebuana Lhuillier-PHL Davis Cup team will take advantage of their Thai opponents’ weakness with clay courts, but will not be too complacent as they face each other in the Davis Cup Group II tie tournament on April 5-7 at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

The presence of Thai’s Danai Udomchoke, currently ranked 203 in the men’s single World ATP ranking, is making it tougher, said PHL member Johnny Arcilla, who has roots in Cebu.

“But we have Ruben Gonzales, playing for the second time this year for the PHL team. He’s already ranked 278 in the men’s single World ATP ranking. I believe we can give them a good fight,” Arcilla said.


Udomchoke said he considers himself and the rest of his team a threat if they are playing on hard court against the PHL team.

“It’s gonna’ be a tough match. Clay court is not my favorite surface,” said Udomchoke during yesterday’s press conference with the rest of the Thailand team, PHL team, Plantation Bay’s Efren Belarmino, Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) vice-president and Philippine Davis Cup administrator Randy Villanueva, and Cebuana Lhuillier’s area manager Dino Manso.

Udomchoke became a professional player in 1997, and after 10 years, ranked 77 in the world men’s singles, which was considered his highest ranking so far.

“In Thailand, it was hard to find a clay court that we can train on, but eventually we found one and trained for a week before flying here,” said Udomchoke, who played most of his games on hard court, like his teammates.


The Thai team is composed of Udomchoke, Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, Nattanon Kadchapanan Pruchya Isarow, and is led by team skipper Scrichaphan Tanakhorn.

The Cebuana Lhuillier-PHL Davis Cup team is composed of Arcilla, Ruben Gonzalez, Treat Huey, Francis Casey Alcantara, and team captain Roland Kraut.

Thai team skipper Tanakorn said they have already practiced on the venue’s clay shell court.

“It’s better here because the venue is near the beach,” Tanakorn said.

Villanueva said that although playing in Lapu-Lapu City’s clay shell court will be a first for Alcantara, a native of Cagayan De Oro City, he is still confident that the rest of the PHL team will have an edge against the Thai players since they are more familiar with the surface.

Belarmino, on the other hand, said their resort is already fully-booked and that they will be expecting around 800-1,000 spectators, especially the junior tennis players who joined the on-going 14th Truflex National Age Group Tennis Championship, which will end on April 5.


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