Somdev is wary of NZ conditions
Christchurch: More than the opponents, it is the challenging cold weather conditions that will test the Indian players when they take on New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I tie, here, from Friday.
The winner will advance to the World Group play-offs and India will certainly start as favourites in the second round tie against the New Zealanders.
The temperature is hovering around 5 to 7 degrees Celsius and Indian players are usually not used to playing in such extreme weather, even though the matches will be played indoors, at the Wilding Park Tennis Centre.
On paper, India simply outweigh the hosts as singles players Somdev Dev Varman (148) and Yuki Bhambri (151) are ranked much above the host players.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Rohan Bopanna also provides the added class. He's world No. 10 in individual doubles rankings and along with Saketh Myneni, will make a solid Indian doubles team.
New Zealand's top-ranked player in the tie is Jose Statham, who is placed 345th. Michael Venus, who usually plays doubles, will do the singles duty and has a singles rank of 548. He though is top-50 player in the doubles.
Similarly, Artem Sitak (43) and Marcus Daniell (66) are well placed in the ATP doubles chart.
India enjoy a superior record against New Zealand, having whitewashed them 5-0 when they met last time in Chandigarh.
Somdev though said they can not afford to take the hosts lightly.
"The conditions are definitely tougher for us. But we are not taking these players lightly. They beat a much stronger Chinese team early this year," Somdev said.
The 23-year-old Yuki also felt that they have a real fight at hand.
"We all know that in Davis Cup ties, rankings don't matter. They have a solid doubles team and its not going to be easy. So I'm hoping Rohan, with his experience can help Saketh and help us get that crucial point," Yuki said.