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Indian players present a united front

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TENNIS / Paes leaves for Mumbai; to return in time for practice on Thursday

INDONESIA'S MAIN MAN:Christopher Rungkat has a hit as coach Hendri Susilo Pramono keeps a close watch over his No.1 player.— PHOTO: K. GOPINATHAN
INDONESIA'S MAIN MAN:Christopher Rungkat has a hit as coach Hendri Susilo Pramono keeps a close watch over his No.1 player.— PHOTO: K. GOPINATHAN

The Indian Davis Cup presented a united front to the media on Wednesday, seeking to dismiss all talk of a rift between members of the squad, and emphasised that it was a ‘good, friendly atmosphere’ that prevails in the camp.

The players appeared to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company during the training sessions too ahead of this weekend’s Asia-Oceania (Group I) relegation match against Indonesia.

At a press conference at the KSLTA Stadium here on Wednesday, non-playing captain S.P. Misra, faced with a barrage of questions on possible discord in the team, suggested that the players were keen to move on to on-court duties.

“It’s a good, friendly atmosphere. The boys are working hard, and we hope to do well,” Misra said.

Somdev Devvarman, who will spearhead the host’s singles challenge, stepped up next. “All of us are getting along really well, and as you can see, we’re having a good time. There is no animosity; everything is great,” he said.

These discussions come in the wake of the player protest, which led to the top players — Devvarman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh — opting out of India’s tie against South Korea earlier this year.

Since the loss to South Korea, Bhupathi and Bopanna have not been considered for selection, while the others have returned for national duty.

Quizzed about his relationship with Leander Paes, Devvarman said: “We had a difference in opinion, but we have always had respect for each other.”

Paes, however, did not attend the press conference.

According to team officials, the veteran left for Mumbai to attend to an emergency, and is expected to return in time for practice on Thursday.

Earlier, Indonesia’s No.1 Christopher Rungkat spoke on behalf of his team.

“I’ve been the No.1 player for Indonesia for the last couple of years, and I’m used to the pressure. I’m the only players inside the top-300. My teammates expect a lot from me.

“I’m expected to deliver,” Rungkat said.

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