The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India hoping against hope

Adelaide: The Indian tennis team arrived more in hope than expectation on Sunday to finalise their preparations for next week’s Davis Cup world group qualifier with Australia.

“We are very much the underdogs so they (India’s players) need to prepare themselves well,” India’s non-playing captain Ramesh Krishnan said. “Sometimes we have played matches as underdogs and it has worked in our favour, so you never know.”

India’s slim hopes of an upset suffered a setback on Friday when top doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi withdrew because of a shoulder problem.

Krishnan tried to persuade Bhupathi to travel to Adelaide in case there was a late improvement in his shoulder but Bhupathi, ranked fourth in the world for doubles, stayed behind to save himself for the Asian Games.

Bhupathi was replaced by Vishal Uppal in an Indian team that does not have a singles player ranked in the top 400 in the world. The Australians boast of world number one and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt.

“Australia has always been tough, it is a good team and always a bit tougher when they play at home,” Krishnan said. “We have our task cut out.”

The winner of the September 20-22 tie will remain in the World Group next season while the loser is relegated.

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