Tennis

Bhupathi excited about playing at home

Indian Davis Cup team memebers - Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, S.P. Mishra (non-playing captain), Rohan Bopanna, Somdev Devvarman, Nandan Bal (coach) - at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: V. Ganesan

Indian Davis Cup team memebers - Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, S.P. Mishra (non-playing captain), Rohan Bopanna, Somdev Devvarman, Nandan Bal (coach) - at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: V. Ganesan  

A tussle for ownership rights over Chennai broke out on Wednesday between the flag-bearers of India's proud Davis Cup tradition.

“I was born here” said Mahesh Bhupathi.

“I grew up here,” added Leander Paes.

Caught in the crossfire of giants, Somdev Devvarman took refuge in, “I've played a lot here too.”

Home advantage

Addressing the pre-draw press conference of India's Davis Cup tie against Brazil, all parties involved admitted that the advantage of playing at home would likely negate the supremacy of the Latin Americans in rankings.

“Definitely the Brazilians are higher ranked, but sometimes in the Davis Cup, rankings don't matter. This can be a very emotional competition and we do have home support,” said S.P. Mishra, India's non-playing captain.

Mishra said that Bhupathi and Paes would pair up for the doubles fixture, but the management had the privilege of enacting a change up to an hour before the match.

Bhupathi, who arrived in Chennai on Tuesday night, said he was ‘excited' playing a World Group fixture at home.

50-50

“As with most ties, it is going to be 50-50,” he said of India's chances.

The countries are locked 1-1 in Davis Cup ties, with the most recent being a 1-4 loss for India on outdoor clay in Sao Paolo in 1991.

Brazil's non-playing captain Joao Zwetsch said the courts at the SDAT Stadium were quite similar to those at the U.S. Open, attenuating the unease of his wards, who are considered to be most comfortable dirt-balling from the backcourt.

“Our players are basically baseliners, but the courts here are not fast enough to disrupt their style. I just hope it's a great tennis weekend for everybody,” said Zwetsch.

World No. 27 Thomaz Bellucci, the ace up Brazil's sleeve, said, “My style is obviously suited to clay, but over the last two years I have made rapid improvement on hard courts. We have worked hard over the past few days and are hopeful of a good show here.”

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:18:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Bhupathi-excited-about-playing-at-home/article15949237.ece

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