Uzbekistan Davis Cup team captain Petr Lebed on Tuesday said his squad has four options if top player Denis Istomin is ruled out of the tie against India due to a foot injury.
“We have four options if Denis (Istomin) doesn’t come. They are all different players and I’ll decide later who to play,” he told reporters at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association’s stadium here.
Asked about Istomin’s injury status, Lebed said they would know about the seriousness of his injury after a diagnosis.
“He (Istomin) is undergoing a medical check up and we will know by today afternoon what the diagnosis is. We will know the seriousness of it then,” he said.
Asked how the team would prepare in Istomin’s absence, Lebed said preparations have been normal because all the players have been training in various parts of the world.
“Preparation have been going on as normal. Sanjar (Fayziev) was playing a tournament in Bahrain. Temur Ismailov was preparing in Greece. Denis (Istomin) was in the USA while Farrukh Dustov was preparing in Tashkent,” he said.
Lebed said both teams, which boasts of a few young players, stand equal chance of winning the upcoming tie.
“Both are young teams. It’s like a 50-50 game and after the first day, we will see how it goes,” he said.
Lebed said the weather here is warm and they are used to it.
“The weather is similar to what we are used to. Warm. We just want to thank everyone for the hospitality,” he said.
Replying to a query, Farrukh Dustov said he is ready to play on all three days, as he has been doing it for the past 10 years.
“I have been playing since 2005. At the beginning it was not easy to play all three days but I am used to it now having played for 10 years.
“Of course to play singles, then doubles and then play again on the third day, it’s not easy. I am ready to play all three days,” he added.
The decision, however, will be up to the captain and he is in fine fettle after after a much-needed rest, Dustov said.
“I am ready to play. Fitness wise I am fine. I haven’t played since December but I’ve been training. Right hand injury,” he said.
On the lack of experience in both teams, Dustov said the hosts have an advantage.
Dustov said the pressure is different in Davis Cup as players represent the country.
“Davis Cup is different. We don’t play for ourselves but for our country. So we have to manage the pressure. I always play Davis Cup. It’s a lot of pressure. Once we start to play, its great,” he said.
Dustov also said he enjoys playing Davis Cup, for he loves handling pressure, which makes him stronger.
“I like to play the Davis Cup because there’s a lot of pressure and handling that pressure makes me stronger. Here, I have to play everyone. Once you there on the court, you have to play and fight for it no matter who the opponent is,” he said.
Replying to a query, Sanjar said he has played a couple of times in Davis Cup.
“I have played a couple of times in the Davis Cup before and it’s a different type of pressure – it’s psychological. We have been preparing for a while for this and I am fit to play,” he said.
Another young player, Ismailov said, “I have not played the Davis Cup. I have played rubber matches. I am excited to play my first match and I am in good shape, ready to play this game.”
On the rivalry between India veterans Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, Dustov said, “We don’t know anything about this. It’s the first time I am hearing about this rivalry.”