By Kristel Satumbaga
Non-playing team captain Chris Cuarto hopes home court advantage will play a big role when the Philippines takes on Greece in the Davis Cup World Group II playoffs on March 6 to 7.
The two-day affair will be played at the Philippine Columbian Association in Paco, Manila where it boasts of a shell clay court surface.
“We would want to make (the matches) as slow as possible,considering that these (Greece) players are very huge in hard courts,” said Cuarto.
Members of the PH pool are not new to the court surface as the venue has been hosting a number of local tournaments.
Team nominations for both the PH team and Greece will be known by Tuesday with the local selections composed of veteran Cuppers like Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales, Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon and AJ Lim.
As far as last year’s team composition, Greece has world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 416 Michael Pervolarakis and No. 716 Markos Kalovelonis.
“We’re excited to host it, and looking at our players, we believe we still have a big chance,” Cuarto said.
The matchup will be the first time in 29 years that the Filipino Cuppers will be up against a non-Asian squad since the PH team, then bannered by Felix Barrientos, faced Sweden in the 1991 World Group Qualifiers.
Under the new format, 12 home-and-away ties in World Group II playoffs will be played at the same time in the World Qualifiers and World Group I playoffs.
The 12 winning nations from the World Group II playoffs will compete in the World Group II ties in September along with the losing nations from World Group I.
Losing nations in World Group II, meanwhile, will compete in the Regional Group III in June/July or September.