TENNIS / Our players like the slow surface, says Anand Amritraj
It was a study in contrast. The Indian team was in full strength undergoing rigorous training sessions and getting used to the conditions. The Chinese Taipei squad had only a token presence, as Tsung-Hua Yang, its leading player, who played a Challenger final in the US, was yet to reach here.
However, the Taipei camp was not too worried. Ti Chen, the second best player in the squad said that the team would give its best; there was healthy respect for the Indian players and Chen had lost to Somdev Devvarman the last time.
“'Yang is good, but India is strong,” said Chen when reminded about the ability of the team’s leading player. He silenced everyone on Tuesday at the pre-draw press conference by saying: “I can’t tell who will win or lose before the match. We will try our best.”
Chen expressed surprise about the fine conditions and the slowness of the synthetic surface that was much to the liking of his team. “We generally expect a very fast court in India. This one is slow.
“Our dream is to reach the World Group play-off. It is going to be tough against India. But, in tennis, you never know. Every player has a chance,” said Chen.
India’s captain Anand Amritraj said that it was important to play to the strength of our players, who were brought up on the hard courts, rather than worry too much about the opposition.
“Earlier, we used to psych the teams with the surface as most had apprehensions about playing on grass. Times have changed now as 60 to 70 per cent of the tournaments around the world are played on hard courts. Our players like the slow surface,” said Anand, even as he made it clear that the Indian team was not taking Chinese Taipei lightly.
“'We are going to take one day and one match at a time. Our chances are definitely better,” said Anand.
The country’s No.1 player, Devvarman said he expected a tough tie, and stressed that every match was different, while recalling his victory over Yen-Hsun Lu in Chinese Taipei the last time.
Eyeing three points
“Our target is to get three points. We will help each other to reach that target. We have our work cut out,” said Devvarman.
“The first match on the first day will give an idea,” said Yuki Bhambri.
On his part, Rohan Bopanna said that the attempt would be to win the match “'hopefully” by Saturday, on the basis of the team’s good form, sound preparation and sincere approach.
Expressing happiness at the improvement in his game, Saketh Myneni, who the captain stressed would partner Bopanna on Saturday, said that he still had to improve a lot and would play his part whenever required.
Devvarman assured that the team would be quite sharp by Friday, thanks to the invaluable inputs by the experienced captain apart from the willingness of the players to come up with ideas.