The Telegraph
Monday , February 4 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indians blame the slow court

New Delhi: The synthetic hard court at the RK Khanna Stadium came under criticism on Sunday after India lost to South Korea 1-4 in the Asia Oceania Davis Cup encounter.

While the Indian players said the court was too slow for their style of play, some felt the All India Tennis Association (AITA) was at fault to select Delhi as the venue for the tie.

On Saturday, Leander Paes, a veteran of Davis Cup, said the court did not suite his style of play. “My natural style of play has lot of creativity… chip and charge… but it was not possible on the slow surface here. If I did, I would have passed the ball instead of hitting it,” he said.

On Sunday, VM Ranjeet complained that he, too, had problems in playing at the RK Khanna Stadium court. “The court was slow…. On a faster court, I could have definitely done better. I think it suited the South Koreans better. They were happy to play here.”

What added to the problem was non-playing captain SP Mishra’s admission that he chose the court keeping in mind that Somdev Dev Varman would be part of the Indian squad.

“When we selected Delhi as the venue for the match, we were under the impression that Somdev would be available. He plays very well on this kind of surfaces. Unfortunately, Somdev opted himself out of the tie for other reasons,” Mishra said.

Ironically, the South Koreans had been saying for the past three days that they were not too delighted with the slow nature of the court. “Back in South Korea, we don’t have such courts. Good that we came here a few days before the tie, so that we could adjust ourselves with the conditions,” said the South Korean non-playing captain Yong Il Yoon.

A former Indian Davis Cupper, however, dismissed the complaints by the Indians. “Let’s not make ourselves look foolish after losing the tie 1-4. We should be sporting enough to give credit to the South Koreans,” he said.

The Indian non-playing captain praised VM Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik for their courageous display but at the same time made it clear that he would like to have the rebel players back in the team.

“Players like Leander Paes or Mahesh Bhupathi are not the future of Indian tennis. The future lies with those who played for India against New Zealand in Chandigarh. Nobody gave us a chance, yet we won 5-0. By not playing this tie, these players were the losers.

“I believe AITA is having talks with rebel players and they will come back. If all players are available, then those are ranked higher will automatically be selected,” Mishra said.

The former Davis Cupper was obviously referring to players like Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Divij Saran and Sanam Singh, who guided India to an emphatic win over Kiwis last year.

“The present lot also did well,” added Mishra. “South Koreans were more experienced. Our boys were new… they played first time in the Davis Cup.

“It is a kind of championship where you cannot start doing well overnight. The boys have to be given time to settle down.”