Veteran star Leander Paes is set to combine with Rohan Bopanna for the doubles rubber during the Davis Cup tie against Serbia, Indian captain Anand Amritraj confirmed on Sunday but he says nothing has been decided on the Asian Games squad as yet.
The inclusion of 41-year-old Paes in the side means that originally selected Saketh Myneni, who made his Davis Cup debut against Chinese Taipei early this year, will miss out.
The tall and big serving player will now be a reserve along with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Ramkumar Ramanathan.
“Yes, Leander will play with Rohan in the doubles,” Amritraj, the non-playing captain, told PTI from Bangalore.
“It was Rohan who approached Leander first and then I got in touch with him. I spoke to him and he agreed to play,” Amritraj said.
Asked if Myneni won’t feel that he has been ousted from the playing squad, the US-based Amritraj replied in a negative.
“He’s absolutely fine. I have spoken to him. He had a rough idea that it might happen,” he said about Myneni.
Talking about the Asian Games squad, from where the top Indian stars intend to pull out, Amritraj said nothing has been decided as yet and the status quo remains.
“It’s still the same. Rohan, Leander, Sania (Mirza) are still there in the squad. I have a meeting with AITA officials and we will decide about it later, there’s no hurry,” he said.
“It’s only Somdev (Devvarman), who has officially pulled out. Others are still in,” he said.
Some top international tennis events are clashing with dates of the Asian Games in Incheon, forcing Indian players to consider pulling out to take care of their rankings.
After not so impressive results at the US Open, Paes and Bopanna’s rankings are set to suffer and if they do not play in top-tier ATP events in China (Beijing and Shanghai) they can slip further in the ladder.
Sania Mirza is targetting to make it to the WTA year-end finals and for that she needs to maintain her rank for that to happen.
Sania, who won the US Open mixed doubles title with Bruno Soares, is currently placed fourth along with partner Cara Black in the Race to Singapore, where top-eight teams fight for the glory.
Bopanna, who will be playing in his home state in this World Group play-off tie, said it would be a “pleasure” for him to play with Leander Paes.
“We have been in discussion for the past few months and were looking for the opportunity to play together for the country. Leander brings a tremendous amount of experience to any partnership,” he said.
“Since he has been ranked as high as number 1 in the world and I have been ranked number 3, I am confident that we will be a formidable team.
I am sure there is going to be some great, exciting tennis over the weekend and I hope we are the strongest team out there,” he said.