SINGAPORE - Singapore will host a Davis Cup tournament for the first time since 1994, and the Republic's tennis players believe their preparations will put them in good stead for the competition.
The Davis Cup Asia/Oceania zone Group III tournament will take place at the OCBC Arena from June 26-29. The top players from eight countries - world No. 66 Vietnam, Iran (72), Kuwait (73), Qatar (83), Sri Lanka (87), Syria (92), Malaysia (96) and Singapore (100) will compete here.
Singapore was promoted to Group 3 after winning Group 4 in 2018, and previously reached Group 2 on multiple occasions, with the most recent being in 1997.
National tennis player Shaheed Alam, 20, told The Straits Times on Saturday (June 8): "The tournaments in the lead up (the three ITF men's tournaments and the South-east Asia Invitational, all held here) will be very good for us as these are high-level matches that will prepare us for the Davis Cup.
"Many people from around the world come to play (at the ITF tournaments in Singapore), so even when we're done with the tournament for that week, we can practise with players from other countries."
Teammate Steve Ng won the men's doubles title with his Malaysian partner Christian Didier Chin at the recent M15 Singapore ITF Men 1 - the first of the three ITF men's tournaments that will take place here - and this has boosted his confidence ahead of the Davis Cup.
The 24-year-old may have competed in the Davis Cup four times before, but the June 26-29 tie will be his biggest tournament on home ground so far.
"I'll just try to focus on my game. The crowd will definitely help raise (my) energy level during the match, but I still have to focus on the match and try not to get distracted," he added. "I think that's going to be a challenge for me because I've never played on this scale before."
Singapore Tennis Association president Nicholas Lim said: "It is not going to be easy (for the players) as their opponents are all of a higher ranking. However, with home ground advantage, I hope the boys will be spurred on to show their fellow Singaporeans what they are capable of."
The third edition of the Singapore Tennis Festival will take place from June 15-30 in conjunction with the Davis Cup. Among the activities are experience tours for participants to learn more about tennis and the launch of website hub.tennis, which provides information on the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 3 play-off and Singapore Tennis Festival. Free tickets for the Davis Cup can also be reserved via the microsite from June 15 onwards.
Visit hub.tennis for more information.