Selectors to deliberate whether to have Paes in Davis Cup team

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Mar 2017 09:27:29


Mar 5,


SENIOR pro Leander Paes’ place in Indian Davis Cup team will be up for discussion when the AITA Selection Committee meets Monday to pick the squad for the upcoming Asia/Oceania Zone tie against Uzbekistan.
The selectors will also deliberate whether to go with two singles players or opt for three.

Saketh Myneni, who pulled out of the New Zealand tie in the last minute, and Sumit Nagal have made themselves unavailable due to injury issues. Ramkumar Ramanathan, Yuki Bhambri and Rohan Bopanna would therefore be automatic selections due to their superior rankings.

When fit, Myneni has the ability to play both singles and doubles but now the question is whether to choose three singles players or two doubles’ specialists. In case the committee decides to pick three singles players, Bopanna’s berth is certain since he is the best-placed Indian in the world rankings at number 24.

Bopanna was dropped from the side despite being higher-ranked than Paes in the previous tie in February but the big-server is likely to win back his place.

Bopanna did extremely well at the just-concluded Dubai ATP 500 event, where he ended runner-up with partner Marcin Matkowski and en route the final, he got the better of Paes and his partner Gracia Gulliermo-Lopez in the semi-finals. If ranking is the criteria, Paes will certainly lose his place in the side since he is placed fourth at number 62 with both Divij Sharan (54) and Purav Raja (56) now ahead of him.

There is also a feeling that if both Bopanna and Paes are picked, the team will be left with only Yuki and Ramkumar to compete in the singles. If there is an injury breakdown, neither Bopanna nor Paes would be able to compete in singles five-setters if required. Even if the Committee decides to have two singles players, left-handed Sharan and Raja may not be ignored this time with AITA officials going on record to say that they would like to
give youngsters a chance to be in the team.