Tennis

Davis Cup | India decides to keep out Nagal

Battlelines drawn: Ramkumar and Cilic will match wits on the opening day.

Battlelines drawn: Ramkumar and Cilic will match wits on the opening day.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Prajnesh, Ramkumar for singles; Bopanna to partner Leander

The Indian team sprang a surprise by keeping its No. 1 player Sumit Nagal out of action, at least for the opening day, of the Davis Cup World Group qualifier to be played on indoor hard courts in Zagreb.

In the opening rubber, the 132nd-ranked Prajnesh Gunneswaran will play the 277th-ranked Borna Gojo. That match will be followed by the 182nd-ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan against the former World No. 3 Marin Cilic, who had helped Croatia win the trophy in 2018.

On the same page

“It is our strategy for the tie, and in the best interests of the team. The team is on the same page. It is not about individuals,” said Rohit Rajpal, captain of the Indian team, after the draw.

India will field Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes in doubles against the pair of Franko Skugor and Mate Pavic.

It may be recalled that the 46-year-old Leander had won three matches in India’s shock victory over Croatia in 1995, when he outlasted Goran Ivanisevic in five sets. That has been the only meeting between the two teams in Davis Cup.

“It’s a big honour to represent the country, and a big responsibility. I am looking forward to playing with Rohan. We have had some good wins,” said Leander.

Bopanna said playing Davis Cup always meant “playing with a big heart, and playing to win.” He added that he was looking forward to playing his friends on the professional tour.

Full of confidence

Ramkumar, who was happy to get an opportunity, said he was confident of delivering the best.

“I am really happy and excited. The conditions are good for me,” he said.

The 127th-ranked Nagal may have been kept out, but could play in the tie, if needed, as there is a provision to replace the players.

The matches will be played on a best-of-three format.

The draw:

March 6: Borna Gojo vs Prajnesh Gunneswaran; Marin Cilic vs Ramkumar Ramanathan.

March 7: Mate Pavic & Franko Skugor vs Rohan Bopanna & Leander Paes; Marin Cilic vs Prajnesh Gunneswaran; Borna Gojo vs Ramkumar Ramanathan.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 8:44:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/davis-cup-india-decides-to-keep-out-nagal/article30994006.ece

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