Yu puts retirement on hold for Davis Cup play-off tie

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 April, 2012, 12:00am


Yu Hiu-tung wants to hang up his racquet for good so he can make a living by coaching the future generation of players. But first Hong Kong needs him to face a formidable challenge from Sri Lanka at Victoria Park this weekend.

Left-hander Yu (pictured) has been forced to shelve his retirement plans yet again as Hong Kong bid to stay in Group Two in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone. They face a tricky obstacle, with Sri Lanka more than capable of pulling off victory in the play-off tie which starts with the opening singles today.

'We are the underdogs, but I believe we can pull it off,' Sri Lanka's non-playing captain, Rohan de Silva said, buoyed by the fact he has his number one team.

Sri Lankan number one Harshana Godamanna is known as 'God', and not just because of his tongue-twisting surname. The last time Godamanna played against Hong Kong, two years ago in Colombo, he defeated Yu. But on that occasion, also a relegation play-off, Hong Kong were lucky to have Martin Sayer, who almost singlehandedly won the tie.

Sayer is unavailable for this tie as he is in the United States, so Hong Kong's hopes rest on former number one Yu and Jonathan Chu, who will play the opening singles. Yu is first up against Godamanna.

'I'm happy that Yu will be out first. He has a score to settle and hopefully he will be able to catch Harshana cold,' Hong Kong non-playing captain Andy Brothers said. 'We have got a good record against Sri Lanka, but I think we are evenly matched.'

Chu will face Dineshkanthan Thangarajah, who has been playing frequently on the challenger circuit.

'On paper, Harshana is their best player and it is important we get off to a good start. It will all depend on Yu,' Brothers said.

In the doubles tomorrow, Hong Kong have nominated Ryan Cheung and Chu, with Sri Lanka fielding Godamanna and Rajeev Rajapakse. The reverse singles will be on Sunday.