India announced their Davis Cup squad that will face Canada in the World Group play-off come September. As was anticipated earlier, veteran Leander Paes has not been included in the line-up. Rohan Bopanna takes up the doubles spot while big serving Saketh Myneni makes a return to the squad and Yuki Bhambri will also travel with the team. Ramkumar Ramanathan, who only months ago had caused one of the biggest upsets of the year by beating world number eight Dominic Thiem.
“Paes will always be in contention in future. Rohan was an automatic choice since we had only one spot for the doubles. The captain wanted three singles players,” selection committee chairman SP Misra is quoted as saying by PTI. Paes was earlier included in the squad that played Uzbekistan but was left out of the final four by captain Mahesh Bhupathi. It had led to Paes leaving the venue mid-way into the tie. He needs just one more win to claim the world record for most Davis Cup wins in doubles. He is currently tied with Italian great Nicola Pietrangeli with 42 wins.
Myneni has been chosen ahead of Prajnesh Gunneswaran (220), Sumit Nagal (261), N Sriram Balaji (291), Vishnu Vardhan (410) and Sasi Kumar Mukund (440), all of whom are above him on the ATP rankings.
“We look at the rankings but not always,” selection committee chairman SP Misra said when asked about the reason behind Myneni’s selection ahead of others. “If you look at the other players above Saketh, most of them, except Balaji, can only play only singles. Saketh can play both. So it made sense to have him in the playing four.”
Myneni is expected to partner Bopanna in the doubles matches with Ramanathan playing the singles. Balaji and Gunnesweran, who both made their Davis Cup debuts in April in Bengaluru, remain in the side as reserves for the September 15-17 tie in Edmonton.
Davis Cup team: Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna.
Reserves: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, N Sriram Balaji.