In a huge setback to the Indian Davis Cup team, doubles star Leander Paes has pulled out of the crucial World Group play-off tie against South Africa due to shoulder and elbow injuries.
Paes sustained the injuries during the just-concluded U.S. Open championships where he won the men’s doubles trophy and ended runner-up in the mixed doubles event.
Now Rohan Bopanna will have an added burden of playing in the doubles rubber with Mahesh Bhupathi apart from playing the second singles.
In the changed circumstances, it will be interesting to see if non-playing captain S.P. Misra hands Yuki Bhambri his Davis Cup cap.
“It’s a tough decision for me but I don’t want to be a liability on team rather than an asset. But this team is excellent and the boys are capable of pulling this tie,” Paes said.
Akhtar Ali, national selector said, “Leander informed us yesterday that he will not play the tie. But I think Rohan is a capable doubles player, so there should not be any problem. But (Wesley) Moodie is a top player so it makes the doubles rubber tough now for India.”