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Christian Didier Chin is expected to lead Malaysia’s challenge in this year’s Davis Cup. PIC BY ASWADI ALIAS.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tennis Malaysia (TM) will maintain the same group of young players they fielded at the last month’s Philippines Sea Games for this year’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions.

Malaysia will host the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group II competition at the National Tennis Centre at Jalan Duta on June 9-13.

The national women's squad, who finished fourth in the competition last year, will compete against Cambodia, Hong Kong, Iran, Myanmar, Oman, Pacific Oceania, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Vietnam.

TM secretary Kamaruzzaman Kedah, however, disclosed that the competition is less clear in the Davis Cup which is undergoing a major format change for this season in the higher divisions.

Malaysia will again play in the Asia/Oceania Group III competition, which remains unchanged, though the higher divisions have been merged into a world group.

“We are not sure of the exact date and venue of the (Asia/Oceania Group III) competition for this year though have been told it will be either in June, July or September,” said Kamaruzzaman today.

“Group II and higher are now world-level competitions, meaning that teams from Asia will play against those from other continents.

“Group II will be played earlier roughly in February or March, and we will have to wait for the completion of that competition to know who will be in our group as some teams will be relegated.”

Kamaruzzaman added that a preparation programme for the players, who will continue to be coached by Suresh Menon, has already been drawn up.

“We will roughly maintain the same core squad as that of the Sea Games but may make one or two changes. The same goes for the Davis Cup squad,” added Kamaruzzaman.

“We have already lined up a programme for our players, as usual we will be playing in a series of national-level tournaments in Thailand and Indonesia.

“Shamirul Shahril Adam Das, however, will also be heading to Egypt for a series of tournaments, thanks to (corporate) sponsorship he has secured from Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad.”

Shamirul, 19, enjoyed a positive season last year, winning the Betamek Kuala Lumpur Open as well as reaching the quarterfinals of the Sea Games. He was named Player of the Year at TM’s Ace Awards last month.

Christian Didier Chin, who also reached the singles quarterfinals in Manila, Syed Agil Syed Naguib, Neoh Khai Keat and Aiman Hamdan had represented Malaysia in the men’s event at the Sea Games.

Malaysia fielded Suhana Sofia Adam Das, Sara Nayar, Jawairiah Noordin and S. Theviya in the women's event at the Sea Games. Malaysia did not win medals in tennis at the biennial games.

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