Sri Lankans confront alien opponent in Paraguay | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankans confront alien opponent in Paraguay

The Davis Cup team (from left) Tehan Wijemanne, Yasitha de Silva, Sudantha Soyza (coach and captain), Sharmal Dissanayake and Dineshkanthan Thangarajah
The Davis Cup team (from left) Tehan Wijemanne, Yasitha de Silva, Sudantha Soyza (coach and captain), Sharmal Dissanayake and Dineshkanthan Thangarajah

In the absence of top seeded player Harshana Godamanna, his role can be easily filled by the talented Sharmal Dissanayake during the Davis Cup Group II tie away against Paraguay on March 6 and 7.

Dissanayake has played plenty of tennis by participating in professional tournaments overseas during his young days and did most of his playing in Germany when he was a student at Royal College as well as after leaving school.

Therefore he is the most qualified, competent and staunchest player who can bring victory to Sri Lanka this time. He did it once before by winning the deciding reverse Singles and victory for Sri Lanka. He is only 23 years old and has many more years of tennis in him. This tennis tie is in the World Group II segment and it will be the first time that Sri Lanka is facing a nation from South America. Little is known about the team from Paraguay but Sri Lanka have been putting nearly six hours of training for the past one month in hot conditions here.

Godamanna cannot make the trip as he is a permanent resident of the United States of America and there is a travel ban on such residents. Godamanna has on many a time played well to bring victory to Sri Lanka in Davis Cup ties that were played against Asian countries. But this is the first time that Sri Lanka will be playing against a nation outside Asia.

The Sri Lanka team consist of players with much experience in the calibre of former national champion in Dineshkanthan Thangarajah and the talented Yasitha de Silva with young Tehan Wijemanne making his debut.

They have been training hard under a well seasoned coach in Sudantha Soyza who has been the coach of the Davis Cup team for many years now. He will also be the non-playing captain.

“Paraguay has unknown players but our team have made a lot of sacrifices to prepare for this tie. They are a closely knit team and they have even ordered about six pairs of shoes each during their training period,” said Soyza.

The tie will be played on red clay courts in Paraguay and Sri Lanka is ready for it.

Sri Lankan players are also good at playing on clay courts as there are many such courts at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) for training.

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