Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: As the Indian squad prepares to leave for the Thomas Cup preliminary rounds in Ho Chi Minh City starting on February 19, the skipper Anup Sridhar expressed the hope that India would qualify and make the Cup finals. The squad will leave on Saturday.

Anup told The Hindu here, “We did well last year to qualify and reached the quarterfinals in the Cup finals, I hope we can do that again.”

India is in Group `C’ with Japan and Pakistan. The top two in each group make the knock-out and the semi-finalists qualify from Asia Zone for the Cup finals. Anup felt India needs to be wary of Japan.

Like his teammates, Anup was disappointed that the National camp was cancelled. “Singles players like myself, Chetan Anand and Arvind Bhat have trained well on our own, but is tough on doubles players, who needed to train together. Despite that, we are confident of a good performance,” said Anup, who at No. 27 is the highest ranked Indian in the World.

Anup later plays a series of European circuit tournament which includes the German Open (Feb. 26 to March 2), All-England championship (March 4 to 9) and Wilson Swiss Open Super Series (March 11 to 16).

He is in the main draw of all three tournament and seeded No. 9 at the German Open. “I can not comment on my chances, as I don’t have the draw. But I hope to do my best.”

Crucial events

The Thomas Cup and these three events are very crucial for Anup to make the Olympic cut. “It would be great if qualify for it,” he said.

On his training stint in Denmark, Anup said “We can think of that only after the Olympics.I feel that training there has put my game on a higher plane.”

Anup has recently signed up with Go Sports run by Olympian swimmer S.H. Hakimmuddin and former State junior cricketer, Nandan Kamath, which will be managing his career.

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