The Bangladesh-Malaysia Friendship Tennis Tournament has left local tennis players excited as they believed the competition would usher them into a new era with much-needed international exposures.
The series, first of its kind in Bangladesh, will start today with the hosts facing their Malaysian counterparts in Davis Cup-like singles and doubles matches at the National Tennis Complex in Dhaka.
Mohammad Akhter Hossain, one of the four Bangladeshi players selected for series, hoped they would be able to beat Malaysia, though the visitors are ahead in rankings.
Ranked 91st in the world, Malaysia are in Zone III for Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone. They have taken this series as part of their preparations for the forthcoming Zone-III competition, which will be held in Vietnam from April 2-7.
Bangladesh, who are 116 in world ranking, finished 10th among 12 teams, in Zone IV competition held in Oman from January 29 to February 3.
‘I believe that if we play our level best then we can beat Malaysia,’ said Bangladesh player Akhter, who urged for similar tournament in the future.
‘The more we play such tournaments we will be able to develop our game,’ he said. ‘In tennis, you need to play a lot of games against different opponents to develop the game. The way we play here [in Bangladesh] it doesn’t help us a lot,’ he said.
Experienced Bangladeshi player Dipu Lal also hailed the initiative without worrying too much about results.
‘This is a very good initiative by our federation, if we had played such tournaments in the past we would have surely improved. But I’m still happy for getting the opportunity to play in such tournament and I will try my best,’ Dipu told New Age.
Dipu, who played in the singles event in Davis Cup, said he would make the best use of the chance if he played singles again.
‘I don’t know if I will play in singles or doubles, it entirely depends on the coach. But if I get the opportunity to play singles then I will try to make the best use it as I played singles in the Davis Cup,’ he added.
Apart of Akhter and Dipu, Amol Roy and Ranjan Ram will also represent Bangladesh in the competition while Muhammad Aiman bin Hamdan, Talhah bin Mohamad Rahizam, Naufal Siddiq bin Kamruzzaman and Azrul Ekhsan bin Azman will play for Malaysia.
Bangladesh Tennis Federation is organising the tournament with the help of Bangladesh Commerce Bank and Uttara Club.
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