Davis Cup in Jordan – Part 2: PROGRESS OF SRI LANKA IN THE DAVIS CUP (1953-2021)


By Revatha S. Silva


Arjun Fernando, one of the greatest legends of Davis Cup tennis in Sri Lanka

1953 – First appearance in a European zone match against the Netherlands in The Hague

1954 and 1955 – No participation

1956-87 – Sri Lanka play in the Eastern Zone while qualifying for five finals. The 1968 final was the closest, as they lost it 3-2, or a margin of just one rubber (match)

1976-82 – No participation for five years

1988 – A new system of zones is introduced in Davis Cup. In each zone, Groups I and II for the “country against country” matches are played in five matches, each match being played to the best of five sets. In lower groups III and IV, many countries participate together in a round robin tournament. Each tie only had three games, with each game only being in the best of three sets

1988-96 – Sri Lanka is part of the Asia-Oceania Group-II zone. They play five semi-finals; four in a row from 1989 to 1992, and again in 1995. They were demoted to Group III in 1996. The zone consists of four groups

1997 and 1998 – Sri Lanka remains in the Asia-Oceania Group III zone

1999 – Sri Lanka play in Zonal Group II again, for just one more year

2000 and 2001 – Back in Group III

2002-04 – Three years in the lowest Group in the area, Group IV

2005-08 – Back in the Asia-Oceania Group-III zone. Finished fourth in Group III with eight teams in 2005, third in 2006 and 2007, and fifth in 2008 when only two countries were promoted to the top Group II

2009 – Plays in Group III but wins promotion to Group II

2010 – Sri Lanka is playing in Zonal Group II for the first time since 1999, after a decade. But loses against New Zealand in the deciding match (3-2)

2011 – Returns to the Asia-Oceania Group-III zone

2012-16 – Plays five years in a row in Group II but couldn’t make it to Group I, losing the second tie each time

2017 – Back in Asia-Oceania Zone Group-III

2018 – Plays again in Group II and loses both matches

2019 – Play in Group III

2020 – Since 1988, the Davis Cup format has been changed again. Sri Lanka is placed in World Group II in a new promotion and demotion system. Sri Lanka fails to qualify and is downgraded to Regional Group III or lower level in the current system

2021 – Sri Lanka play in Group III of the Asia-Oceania zone in Jordan

What comes from here?

# The top three of the seven countries currently playing in Jordan will be eligible to play in the “World Group II play-offs” featuring 12 countries in February 2022

# From there, the 12 winners will enter the “World Group II”, which will be played in November 2022

# The 12 losing countries will join Zonal Group III again in November 2022

This year’s Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Tennis Zone Group III took place Wednesday (15) through Saturday (18) at the Jordan Tennis Federation’s outdoor hard courts in Amman, Jordan.

The main challenge the Sri Lanka men’s tennis team faced this time around at the Davis Cup, the annual International Men’s Tennis World Cup, was to bring the country back in the new World Group II play-offs in February of next year (2022).

If they wanted to do so, they had to place in the top three of the nine participating countries.

The Davis Cup is currently sponsored by Rakuten Group Inc., a Japanese e-commerce and online retail company based in Tokyo.

Amer Naow who played in the singles opener against hosts Jordan on Wednesday (15), the opening day of the Asia-Oceania Group III Davis Cup tennis in Amman, Jordan

The following nine nations are in competition:

Pool A: Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia

Pool B: Oceania Pacific (region), Qatar, Vietnam

Pool C: Syria, Jordan, Sri Lanka

(Retired country: Philippines)


Three pools from three teams will compete in the round robin phase of the event. The top two teams from each pool will compete against each other, with the three winners being promoted. The last team in each pool, or three countries in total, will be relegated to the Asia-Oceania group IV next year.

Sri Lanka team:

Yasitha De Silva, Thehan Wijemanne, Vibuda Wijebandara, Chathurya Nilaweera and non-playing captain Renouk Wijemanne

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