Treat Huey brings Wimbledon momentum to PH Davis Cup tie
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - World-ranked tennis player Treat Huey arrived in Manila on July 9 with a boost of confidence after reaching the men’s doubles semifinals of this year’s Wimbledon. Huey, a Filipino-American from Virginia, and partner Max Mirnyi, former world number one, pushed the number one-seeded and eventual champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France to the limit in a 5-set semis loss.
“We definitely had a chance to win Wimbledon," Huey, now rated number 18 in the ATP doubles rankings, tells Rappler.com. "I think when we had some chances in the semifinals and could've won the finals had we won that match but it didn't go our way there. If we keep putting ourselves in those positions, I think in the future we're gonna win some of those matches and win a Grand Slam or big events the next few months or next year.
“I think when you play all these teams and all the best players in the world, you know that you're right in there with them and you feel like you have a chance when you match and play."
Huey now turns his attention towards national duty with the Philippine team as they play a 3-day Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II tie with Chinese-Taipei from Friday, July 15 through Sunday at the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) tennis court at Plaza Dilao in Paco, Manila. Huey will lead a team comprised of Ruben Gonzales (fresh off winning the France F13 Futures doubles title this month), Francis Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon, and captained by Karl Santamaria, against Chinese-Taipei’s Ti Chen, Liang Chi Huang, Jui-Chen Hung and Chieh-Fu Wang, with Jinn-Yen Chiang serving as captain.
Chinese-Taipei, which is ranked 13 spots higher than the Philippines by the Davis Cup at 41, has beaten the Philippines in their last 3 best-of-5 meetings, while the Philippines hasn’t beaten Chinese-Taipei since 1999.
Huey feels confident that playing on home turf - plus the absence of Chinese-Taipei’s top player Lu Yen-hsun - will play to their advantage. Lu’s two singles victories Patrick-John Tierro and Ruben Gonzales helped deliver his team a 3-1 victory over the Philippines in 2015.
“All 4 of their guys are ranked Top 500 or so in singles so we're still the underdog but I think, playing here in Manila in PCA on [shell-clay surface] will give us a better chance and we'll have to play well to win,” said Huey.
Gonzales and Alcantara will kick off action on Friday against Chen and Huang on Friday, respectively, with Huey teaming with Patrombon against Hung and Wang on Saturday's doubles action. Reverse singles action concludes the tie on Sunday.
Like Andy Murray, who added his third Grand Slam singles title by winning Wimbledon in front of his home court last week, Huey feels the boost of a home crowd will work to the Philippines’ benefit.
“I think the crowd helps a lot in the energy and motivation during the matches and we've gotten more used to the courts and the atmosphere and conditions where in Chinese Taipei are playing not nearly as much on clay where you have to slide and move the ball around,” said Huey.
“That's something you have to use to your advantage and use the crowd to motivate you and energize you when you need it and keep going when you're tired towards the end.”
The winning side will face the winner of the Vietnam vs Thailand tie in the finals on September 16-18 for a chance to be promoted to Group I in 2017.
Daily tickets are priced at P200 each while a P500 ticket can be purchased for a 3-day pass. Opening ceremony takes place 2:45 pm on Friday with first game beginning at 3 pm. Saturday’s schedule also starts at 3 pm while matches start at 1 pm on Sunday. – Rappler.com