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Krishnan rues lack of stars

New Delhi: The absence of a top ranked singles players was affecting India’s progress in Davis Cup, team captain Ramesh Krishnan said Wednesday.

“Whenever we reach the play-off stage we don’t get seeded (because of lack of players with high singles ranking). Unfortunately, the doubles rankings are not taken into account, so it always going to go against us,” Krishnan said on the sidelines of India’s preparative camp for the Asia-Oceania Group I first round tie against Japan beginning Friday.

India have retained their Group I slot for the past three years but have failed to get back into the world group. They have lost to Sweden, The US and Australia at the play-off stage in the past three years.

Mahesh Bhupathi, who had been busy with the WTA Indian Open at Hyderabad as its promoter, joined the team Wednesday.

“It’s nice to be back with the team. The players have been working hard, and we are all expecting an exciting match,” he said.

Leander Paes had been more than successful in making the junior members of the team — Harsh Mankad, Rohan Bopanna and Sunil Kumar Sipaeya — feel comfortable on the Davis Cup stage. Paes’ experience and passion has been infectious and has also galvanised them into a single unit.

The five-time Grand Slam doubles champion is a reborn man after winning the mixed doubles crown with Martina Navratilova at the Australian Open last month and the mere mention of the name of the legendary player seemed to strike a chord in him.

“You know, I began playing at the age of 12,” Paes said. “And ever since I have been playing singles and doubles and also had to play for the country. And after all that happened last year, I was feeling exhausted.

“But when I saw Martina (Navratilova), her passion for the game at the age of 46... Then I realise, ‘oh, I have another at least 16 years of tennis left in me’.”

The draw will be made at the Prime Minister’s residence Thursday morning.

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