Sri Lanka’s tennis hopes ride on strong Davis Cup squad

Sri Lanka Davis Cup team

Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA: (ePRESS) – Sri Lanka’s solid Davis Cup tennis team, competing in Group IV of the Asia/Oceania zone, is aiming to upgrade to Group III. Their confident journey starts from July 10 to July 13 at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The team is led by playing captain Harshana Godamanne, a veteran and former national champion in both Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles. At 38, Godamanne, who is based in Boston, USA, has extensive experience, having played over 50 Davis Cup ties for Sri Lanka.

“Providing experience is a priority for the Sri Lankan camp, targeting a higher group in the next five years,” said Godamanne.

Apna Perera, the top-ranked tennis player in Sri Lanka, has been in excellent form, winning three consecutive championships since last December, including the Queen’s Cup, Hill Club Championship in Nuwara Eliya, and the Colombo Championship. The 20-year-old former Ananda College star has won the most Men’s Singles titles in various tournaments held in Sri Lanka over the past year. This is his second Davis Cup campaign, and he is expected to perform at his best.

Another key player is Thehan Wijemanne, a former Royal College star and the son of former four-time Davis Cup player Sanjay Wijemanne. This is Thehan’s fifth consecutive Davis Cup representing Sri Lanka. He debuted in 2020 at the age of 16 and is now the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles National Champion. Thehan is currently studying and playing competitive tennis at Middlebury College in the USA.

The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) conducted selection trials with the best eight players, excluding Apna Perera, who was an automatic choice as the number one ranked player. Every other player was selected through the trials.

“I am really happy to be a part of a very good team. The SLTA has done a great job in selecting the team and officials. We have a huge chance to be promoted,” said Thehan Wijemanne, an undergraduate in Mathematics and Economics in the USA.

Ashen Silva, a former St. Peter’s College player, is currently ranked number two in Sri Lanka. He has won the Colombo Championship and the Maldives Championship. The 22-year-old has been the national champion for two consecutive years in 2022 and 2023 and is completing his third year in the Davis Cup.

Kanika Jayathilake is the only debutant on the team. The 19-year-old tennis star, based in Australia since the age of two, is a rare talent.

“I am practicing with a solid Sri Lanka team. We have good chemistry on and off the court,” said Jayathilake, who graduated from high school in Australia in 2022.

Sri Lanka faces tough competition in Group IV, with key matches against Qatar and Cambodia, as well as other strong teams from Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and the UAE, totaling eight countries including Sri Lanka.

The team’s coach is Sanka Athukorale, making his debut as the Davis Cup coach, while SLTA Vice President Rukmal Cooray serves as the Team Manager.

Sri Lanka is optimistic about their chances and ready to take on the challenge to secure promotion to Group III.

Sri Lanka Davis Cup team
Sri Lanka’s Davis Cup 2024 Team (from left): Playing captain Harshana Godamanne, Coach Sanka Athukorale, Ashen Silva, Apna Perera, Thehan Wijemanne, Kanika Jayathilake, and Team Manager, SLTA Vice President Rukmal Cooray.
Harshana Godamanne 1 1
Harshana Godamanne
Apna Perera
Apna Perera
Thehan Wijemanne
Thehan Wijemanne
Kanika Jayathilake
Kanika Jayathilake
Ashen Silva
Ashen Silva

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