Newly-appointed Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj is confident that it will be “smooth sailing” for the Indian team in 2014 as the players’ revolt was thing of the past but he wants to have a say in the decision-making process for taking the team back to the elite World Group.
AITA roped in Anand as the non-playing captain in place of S.P. Misra after top players revolted for better playing conditions and demanded a change in the support staff.
“2014 will be different than this year as there were some problems. I think next year would be smooth since the players have got what they wanted, it will be smooth sailing,” Mr. Amritraj told PTI from Los Angeles in an exclusive interview after being appointed India’s non-playing captain.
“I am hoping I will be part of the selection process and my input makes a difference. We have to pick the best team. We have to pick the team on ranking as well as on current form, as that would be the criteria. Personally, I am concerned with singles and not the doubles, because we have to win two singles,” he added.
Amritraj, who along with his brother Vijay was part of many memorable Davis Cup wins for India in the past, said captaining India was his long-time dream. “I was always interested in being captain, say for the last 10 years. When they (AITA) first spoke to me in 2002, it did not happen. I am very happy and thrilled to be captain. I thank the AITA and the players for this honour and privilege of making me the captain,” he said.
Amritraj said his focus will be on singles even as there will be a selection headache because of presence of lot of good doubles players.
“I will have a word with AITA selection committee. It’s a tough choice, we have three great doubles players but we have only two slots. Rohan (Bopanna) has played unbelievable tennis when he became world number three. It is hard to leave Rohan. Leander won the U.S. Open. Then Mahesh is also there, so doubles is not a problem. We should focus on singles.”