The Philippines will miss out from competing in the 2021 Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group III slated September 15 to 18 in Amman, Jordan as the Philippine Tennis Association’s (PHILTA) remains suspended in the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Led by Treat Huey, the Philippines was set to go up against Hong Kong, Kuwait, Jordan, Malaysia, Pacific-Oceania, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Vietnam in the tournament, where three countries will progress to the 2022 Davis Cup World Group II playoffs.
The country’s Davis Cup team members composed of Huey, Ruben Gonzales, Francis Alcantara, and AJ Lim will miss the action as the Philippines serves the second year of its suspension.
“I’m really sad that we are banned from playing Davis Cup,” said Alcantara, who won the 2019 SEA Games gold with Jeson Patrombon in the men’s doubles event.
“A few friends of mine that are playing the tie in Jordan have messaged me asking why we are not playing and I just told them what happened and how we got banned by the ITF.”
“I wish all the teams there good luck and I hope they stay safe during the tie,” he added.
Filipino-American veteran Huey aired his frustration over the situation as he expressed how much he wanted to represent the country.
“It is embarrassing that the federation has been suspended and we are not able to play Davis Cup this week. It’s heartbreaking that I don’t have the opportunity to represent the country this week and help us win and earn promotion to Group II,” said Huey.
“To have the team withdrawn from Davis Cup this year by the ITF because of the state of our tennis federation is truly sad.”
But Gonzales, who teamed up with Huey for the SEA Games men’s doubles silver, is already setting his sights on playing for the country again when the ITF ban gets lifted.
“Playing Davis Cup and representing my country has honestly been the biggest honor of my career! And I’m looking forward to playing Davis Cup again whenever that will be,” said Gonzales.
The country's tennis association was suspended from the ITF due to unresolved leadership and governance issues, which go against the international federation president David Haggerty’s mandate to make the local organization more “inclusive” with its membership base.
The issues include the controversial election of Antonio Cablitas as PHILTA president, which is not recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), and the emergence of a separate group, the Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP), that claims to be recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Despite the ITF's previous requests to hold a proper election under the POC rules, the international federation was giving PHILTA another chance to follow protocol in order to lift the ban.
However, the ban was placed due to PHILTA’s failure to hold a POC-recognized election and submit the required documents.
The Philippines was relegated to Group III and was supposed to compete in the World Group II playoffs after the country lost to world No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Greece in the Davis Cup tie at the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) in Paco, Manila last March 2020. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.