THE Philippines looks to come up with a solid start in its new Davis Cup campaign, and veteran Ruben Gonzales is confident the new squad will be able to continue the country’s winning ways against Kuwait when first round action in the Asia Oceania Group II action opens on Friday at at the Valle Verde Country Club.
The Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team also has doubles specialist Treat Huey, former world juniors No. 9 Jeson Patrombon, and former Australian Open juniors doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara, with Karl Santamaria as non-playing team captain.
The Philippines won its previous ties against Kuwait in 2002 and 2007.
“This year we have a good chance, we have a good team again. Even though it’s a bit different team, it’s guys that we knew. It’s cool to mix it up a little,” said Gonzales.
The draw to determine the pairings of the opening round of the Asia/Oceania Group II tie sponsored by Cebuana Lhuillier, Yonex, Philippine Sports Commission, and Edsa Shangrila is set on Thursday.
The opening singles will be played at 3 p.m. on Friday while the doubles will be at 6 p.m. The reverse singles are set Sunday at 2 p.m.
“I think the teams that we played in Group 2 are stronger. Obviously we have had some chances, but personally I feel like every year I get more experience and I have improved,” said Gonzales.
Huey will arrive on Wednesday night in Manila fresh from a doubles victory in an ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico with Max Mirnyi.
Kuwait, however, is also determined to spoil the home players’ show.
“We hope to leave here with a win,” said Kuwait non-playing team captain Adel Al-Shatti.
The tie will be played in a shellcourt surface but the Kuwaitis appeared unperturbed by the choice of the hosts.
“Surface is okay. I mean it’s not an advantage for us, but it’s not going to be a disadvantage either. But everything is fine so far and we are two strong teams, so it’s going to be a good match in the weekend,” Al-Shatti said.