By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Philippines will be in Davis Cup action today, taking on World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas and a heavily favored Greece side at the Philippine Columbian Association’s Plaza Dilao courts in Paco, Manila.
The Filipino netters, composed of Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Petrombon, Ruben Gonzales, AJ Lim and Eric Olivarez, Jr., with Chris Cuarto as non-playing captain, know they are up against a tough challenge against the Greeks in their Davis Cup World Group II playoffs but is not allowing it to deter them from going all out and giving hometown fans something to cheer for and support.
“We know they are tough especially with a world-class player like Stefanos Tsitsipas. But we will do our best to make the country proud,” said Mr. Alcantara, who is a Southeast Asian Games gold medallist.
The Filipinos hope that playing here at home will work for them even as they enjoined tennis fans here to go out and support them in their games.
Meanwhile for Mr. Tsitsipas, who recently played world number one Novak Djokovic at the finals of the Dubai Tennis Championship, it will be all business for them despite their team installed as a huge favorite over the Philippines.
“I will try to represent my country as best as possible,” said Mr. Tsitsipas, 21, who also has five world titles under his belt.
Joining Mr. Tsitipas in the Greek squad are his younger brother, Petros, Michael Pervolarakis and Markos Kalovelonis, with Dimitris Chatzinikolaou as skipper.
Incidentally, the Philippines-Greece match marks the first time that Filipinos will tackle a non-Asian nation since they battled the Swedes in the World Cup qualifier in 1991.
As of this writing, the draw for the matches was set to be made.
The first two singles matches are scheduled today with the doubles and the last two reverse singles tomorrow.