Mumbai: Davis Cup captain Leander Paes on Saturday declared himself available for the reverse singles and said that the Indians would come hard at Pakistan after winning the crucial doubles rubber in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group I play-off tie here on Saturday.
Paes let his wards Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna battle it out in the opening singles on Friday. But with the tie delicately poised 2-1 in India’s favour, and with Bopanna’s form in question, Paes could himself play the deciding rubber on Sunday.
“All three ' Rohan (Bopanna), Prakash (Amritraj) and myself ' are ready to play tomorrow. Pakistan are up against the wall at 1-2 behind. We are going to give it to them and make it as hard as possible for them (to win the tie),” Paes said.
As per the original nomination, Amritraj is to play Aisam-ul Haq in the first reverse singles and Bopanna is to take on Aqeel Khan in the fifth and final rubber on Sunday. But the rules permit the captains to change the nominations an hour before the start of the day’s play.
“We ensured Prakash did not get under the sun today (after his bout of cramps yesterday). Rohan has a little more time tomorrow as he will be playing in the second half (the fifth match against Aqeel Khan),” he added.
Paes has stopped playing singles on the professional circuit and the last time he played in a Cup tie was an year ago against Uzbekistan at Jaipur.
Earlier, Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi clinched their 19th Davis Cup doubles victory. “It was good to get the 19th victory under our belt in our tenth year together. But it was not something out of the ordinary,” the captain said.
“We had decided to play at fifty per cent of our potential to conserve our energy in this heat and I am happy the match got over quickly,” Paes said after winning in an hour and 40 minutes. (PTI)