Bopanna back in Davis Cup squad

A truly Indian team — complete with their Indian passports — will make their way to Chinese Taipei for the Asia/Oceania Group I tie...

Written by Shreya Chakravertty | New Delhi | Published: February 20, 2009 3:04 pm

A truly Indian team — complete with their Indian passports — will make their way to Chinese Taipei for the Asia/Oceania Group I tie,which begins from March 6.

With Prakash Amritraj ineligible to represent India due to his American passport,the team picks itself with Leander Paes,Mahesh Bhupathi,Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvarman part of the squad. The visitors will have a tough challenge on their hands against a Taipei team riding high on confidence — they won their previous tie against Kazakhstan without the services of their highest-ranked player Yen Hsun Lu (currently world No 57).

“Playing away from home is a big disadvantage,but we just have to look at winning two singles matches. Mahesh and Leander are a class apart,and while we shouldn’t assume that it’s a certain point,they don’t need to be told what to do,” said SP Mishra,part of the selection committee and the non-playing captain.

Rohan Bopanna,who was not part of the team against Romania,returns,and Mahesh Bhupathi felt his form would be important. “Rohan qualified for the Chennai Open,and he has been having good doubles results,so I hope he can carry on the good work. He has also beaten Lu before,so he can definitely do well over there,” he said.

Yuki Bhambri was expected to make it to the squad as a reserve player,but instead it is US collegiate Sanam Singh who has been picked. “Yuki is currently training in Florida,and he has been given a wild card into the qualifying tournament at Miami,so he asked not to be picked this time around. I would have preferred it if he was part of the squad,but unfortunately,he’s not free to come and join us.

“Spending time with senior players,getting to know what Davis Cup is like would have helped him,” said Mishra. “Sanam has been in good touch ever since he left to play in the US,playing with high quality players on the NCAA circuit,” he added.

The 21-year-old,a sophomore at the University of Virginia,was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 National Team Indoor Championships on Wednesday,after he helped his team to win the indoors title.

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