Tuesday, February 02, 2010


It was akin to being in Thailand during the draw for the Federation Cup Asia/Ocenia Group I and II at the Pan Pacific Hotel this afternoon.

For there were hordes of journalists, both from the print and electronic media, with 15 of them representing major Thai dailies as well as three television stations. Such was the passion of the Thais for tennis that they have sent such a large contingent to cover their team's participation in the Fed Cup that begins on Wednesday at the National Tennis Centre in Jalan Duta.

"We have done well in tennis and it has a big following back home. But looking at the draw does not make us happy as it is akin to the Group of Death as the three other teams, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei are really strong. So finishing on top will be a tall order," said one of the Thai journalists who could converse in English.

While the Thai's are in Group 1, Malaysia is silently hoping the luck of the draw wil give its team a chance to make it to the playoffs to determine who gets promoted to Group I. Malaysia is grouped together with Sania Mirza led India and Singapore.

And Malaysia's leading player, Jawariah Nordin is looking forward to her match against Sania when the two team play each other on Friday.

"I have never played her before and the experience is just going to be awesome," said Jawairiah.

"It will be tough but I aim to give it my best shot and enjoy the experience as I have nothing to lose. Who knows what will happen but I am not going to let her walk all over me."

Jawairiah can get some tips on how to play Sania from her team mate Khoo Chin Bee who is making a return to the national team after a hiatus of a few years. Chin Bee played Sania in the final of the Hyderabad Open in 2003 but lost to the Indian youngster.

"Sania is one of the more exciting players and Jawairiah could do with the experience of playing against such a high ranked player," said Chin Bee.

"I have not played against the other Indian players yet but we will try our best to upstage them. But first we have to get past Singapore before taking on India."

Malaysia could do with fan support and hopefully the efforts of LTAM in hosting the event will be appreciated by the public. Make your way to Jalan Duta and cheer Malaysia on.

Following is the groupings following the draw for the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I and II.

Group 1

Pool A
Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Korea

Pool B
Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Kazakhstan

Group II

Pool A
India, Singapore, Malaysia

Pool B
Hong Kong, Philippines, Syria, Kyrgyzstan

Fixtures (Wednesday)

All Matches Commence At 10.00am at National Tennis Centre Jalan Duta

Japan v Indonesia, New Zealand v Korea, Uzbekistan v Thailand, Chinese Taiei v Kazakhstan, Singapore v Malaysia, Hong Kong v Syria, Philippines v Kyrgyzstan