KUALA LUMPUR: There is some fire in the belly of Malaysia’s tennis players going to the Singapore SEA Games.
Despite the odds heavily stacked against the men’s team, Mohd Assri Merzuki thinks winning a medal is not a pipe dream.
“I believe we are good enough for a medal to end Malaysia’s barren run in the men’s competition,” said Assri, who will be going to Singapore with Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naquib, Muhd Ashaari Zainal Abidin and Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam.
The last time Malaysia won a medal in the men’s competition was at the 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur. V. Selvam clinched a bronze in the men’s singles and Nazreen Fuzi-Adam Jaya also won a bronze in the men’s doubles.
In March, the quartet helped Malaysia earn promotion to the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II for the first time since 2010.
And two weeks ago, they picked up a team silver at the inaugural Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) tennis championships in Palembang, Indonesia. Assri and Syed Mohd Agil also bagged a bronze in the doubles.
“We’re playing great at the moment. We’re feeling confident after a good Davis Cup campaign and the ISSF tournament. All four of us are looking forward to our Games debuts,” said Assri after clinching his second straight doubles title with Syed Mohd Agil in the second leg of the BMW National Circuit on Wednesday.
“Winning the gold may be too much to ask, but we can assure you we will do our utmost to make the semi-finals and get ourselves on the podium.
“We always go into every tournament believing we have a chance ... even when we go up against favourites Thailand and Indonesia. Nothing is impossible,” added Assri.
The women’s team bound for Singapore are Jaiwairiah Noordin, Yus Syazlin Nabila Yusri and S. Theiviya.
Tennis is making its return after a four-year absence. At the 2011 Indonesia Games, Malaysia only sent Si Yew Ming and Jaiwairiah and they returned home empty-handed.
by Tan Ming Wai - The Star