Davis Cup tie: India make smart choices
The Indian Davis Cup team will have a big task ahead, to save its place in World Group I, when it clashes with the Holger Runeled Denmark in the Davis Cup Play-off tie, starting on Friday.
India do not have even one player inside the top-300 while world No. 9 Rune will make the hosts firm favourites to stay in World Group I. The tie will be played indoors on hard courts.
India had blanked Denmark 4-0 in Delhi in March 2022 but the presence of 19-year-old Rune, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open last month and won three ATP titles in 2022, makes it a very different proposition.
India, however, have come out with a nice strategy to counter Rune’s presence and are targeting lower-ranked players in the Denmark camp — August Holmgren (ranked 484) and Elmer Moeller (ranked 718) — to emerge victorious.
The team has decided to field Yuki Bhambri on Day I as the country’s second-highest ranked player so that Sumit Nagal can go in as the No.1 player and strive to eke out a win on the opening day. Holmgren might be ranked low but he is a tough challenger.
The doubles match will assume significance and the seasoned Rohan Bopanna will have to use his experience to anchor the side.
There are three singles players in the playing squad — Prajnesh Gunneswaran (306), Ramkumar Ramanathan (412) and Sumit Nagal (509) — while Sasi Kumar Mukund has been left out.
But it’s not a surprise that captain Rohit Rajpal has decided to play Bhambri.
He has quit the singles format on the ATP Tour but still is such a good player on indoor courts that it is difficult to ignore him.
Yuki will open the tie with the match against Rune while Nagal will play against Holmgren.