ON December 17, last year, Ed Hardisty, executive director of the Hong Kong Tennis Association, defended the controversial decision to replace Mark Bailey as Davis Cup captain with Mike Walker. He said Walker, the association's coaching director, was appointed for last week's match against Indonesia at Victoria Park because he had decided to give up all playing rights and concentrate solely on coaching and development. Hardisty was quoted in the December 18 issue of Sports Post as saying: ''If Michael had decided to play, then Mark may have been made the captain. But Michael has made a commitment to develop juniors in Hong Kong.'' The next day, Walker himself was quoted as saying: ''I'm committed to developing tennis in Hong Kong and the decision to stop playing was not easy.'' A few weeks before the tie, Walker announced that he would be available after all. He handed the captaincy duties to team manager, David Ho, and said: ''Although I was picked as non-playing captain, I don't think I was ever written off as a player.'' When Walker's appointment as captain was announced, the association went to great pains to assure everyone that it had nothing to do with a conflict with Bailey's employers, the Hong Kong Sports Institute. It had seemed, at that time, that the whole issue of Davis Cup captaincy hinged solely around Walker's decision not to play. As the events unfolded, however, it appears that Walker was always going to play. Hardisty's statement was very clear and it came through as if Walker had defined his role and that a possible comeback was never an option. No-one doubts that Walker, at 27, remains the best player in Hong Kong and deserved to be the territory's number one player against Indonesia. The issue here is not who should or should not be Davis Cup captain. It is not about who should be playing nor is it an attempt to rekindle the animosity that once existed between the association and the Institute. It is about the premise on which Walker's appointment as captain was made. Hong Kong were beaten 3-2 by Indonesia, after the tourists took a winning 3-0 lead.