Men’s Tennis Nationals 2020 Champion | Sunday Observer
Yasitha De Silva

Men’s Tennis Nationals 2020 Champion

31 January, 2021

Earlier this month, on the 16th, the 2020Hard Court Tennis Nationals Finals were held; having been postponed from last year due to the pandemic. In a surprising upset, Sri Lankan

Men’s First Seed and Defending Champion SharmalDissanyake was forced to retire due to an injury following a grueling first set that went into a tie breaker, granting Second Seed Yasitha De Silva his first Hard Court Nationals title win.

Having already won the SSC Tennis Tournament 2020 last January and the 2020 National Clay Court Tennis Nationals laterthat year, 2020 has been an amazing year for Yasitha, going completely undefeated in his singles tournament matches.

In a brief interview with him, Yasitha spoke of the win against Sharmal, calling it satisfying. As a competitor at the top level, Yasitha is very familiar with his opponent’s talents, having represented Sri Lanka alongside Sharmal at the Davis Cup and having played against him before.He had the greatest of praise for him, saying he “expected to face him in the finals from the beginning” and that he, Yasitha, had to train specifically with the expectation of a long match. He had known of an injury going into the finals but did not expect it to cause Sharmal to ultimately bow out, so he did not actively try to exploit it.

Special training regimen

As for the rest of the competition, Yasitha made it a point to say how most players have had the disadvantage of not training too much during Covid -19 Yasitha himself however, worked with his coaches to prepare a special training regimen he could perform at home in order to keep up his fitness so once the worst of the lockdown was over, he had a head start in getting back to peak performance.

This was what he mainly described as attributing to his dominance in 2020 tournament singles.

While 2020 was his best year yet, and this win being his first for the Hard-Court Tennis Nationals, Yasitha has been an extremely consistent player at the top level, being the runner up for it in 2016 and been placed in the semifinals every year up to now.

He has even represented Sri Lanka since all the way back in 2011 for the Junior Davis Cup, and has been part of the Sri Lanka National Team for years, earning a Bronze at the South Asian Games 2016 Men’s Doubles.

Even with such a robust international career, Yasitha pointed out the Davis Cup 2018 Doubles match against Thailand as being particularly memorable.

Thailand was a very strong team which everyone expected to sweep the boards and while they ultimately lost, Yasitha alongside Sharmal managed to push it to be as close as possible.

Speaking of his career, Yasitha expressed how even though he had graduated from school in 2016, he could not be a full time pro until 2019 when he graduated from the University of Colombo with a Management degree.

He had plans to travel and participate in more tournaments but had to put them on hold due to Covid -19.

After becoming a fulltime pro, he adopted an intense training regimen, including early morning practice, evening practice and physicals in between.

Yasitha described matches in Sri Lanka being different to most other countries as the humidity is especially difficult to deal with, something he specifically trains for three weeks in advance for every tournament with fitness training that he slows down the closer he gets to the tournament.


As a professional with a wealth of experience despite his relative youth, Yasitha had several criticisms for the competitive Tennis scene in Sri Lanka.

He commented on how despite the increased participation in youth divisions, U10 and U12 players numbering in the thousands, the conversion rate for those players becoming players at 20 and over is abysmally low, numbering in the 40s.

He attributed this to the low competitive level locally. Speaking about just the Men’s Tournaments, despite having numerous opportunities to compete internationally while representing Sri Lanka, there are just 6-7 local tournaments per year, and assuming they win every one of those, the prize money they can gain is still not enough to cover the costs of being a proplayer.

He proposed that with more benefits and tournaments along with some monetary support like with sponsorships would greatly help incentivize more people to continue as pro Tennis players locally.

Career at a junction

However, as it is, he described his career as being at a junction. Stuck between dedicating more of his life to Tennis or focusing more on his career management at MAS holdings, something he admits he has a genuine interest in. Even though he is grateful for the support from his family which allowed him to continue as a professional tennis player for nearly two years, he needs to seriously consider his options for the future.

For the time being, however, he will continue to represent Sri Lanka in the coming Davis cup, to try fight their way back into Division 2 and help instruct the younger players in the National team.

Yasitha wanted to express his gratitude and credit those who have helped get him as far as he has.

They are Niranjan Casie Chitty, his personal coach with whom he has trained with for the past decade, Jaliya Yasarathne, his personal trainer,Anupa Maththemagoda, his school tennis coach and of course, last but not least his parents,brother and their maid.