Davis Cup venue: Khanna non-committal

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Secretary-General of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Anil Khanna, has said both Chennai and Delhi stand a fair chance to host the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against Brazil from September 17 to 19.

“The fact that Chennai could not host the tie against Australia last time could weigh in its favour. At the same time, Delhi will also be a nice venue. There is still a lot of time, but we will take a call on this soon,” said Khanna.

With a home tie coming after a gap of more than two years, and the Indian team spearheaded by Somdev Devvarman having a decent chance to win the tie against the clay specialists of Brazil, the AITA may find it tough to decide the venue.

Brazil has three top-100 players in Thomaz Bellucci (26), Ricardo Mello (92) and Marco Daniel (99).

India hosted Japan in Delhi in April 2008 on grass, the last time, when Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj won their singles matches on the first day and the tie was sealed with the doubles by Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi on the second day itself.

It is also felt that the tie if hosted at the R.K. Khanna Stadium in the Capital, refurbished for the Commonwealth Games, could serve as a fine dress rehearsal before the mega event in October.

Extra exposure

Equally, it would give the Indian players that much extra exposure on the slow surface, so that they can be ready a lot better, fully acclimatised to the conditions, during the Commonwealth Games, when every medal would count.

However, the Indian team could strongly feel inclined towards Chennai as it has already become a favourite venue for the No. 1 player Devvarman, following his race to the final of the ATP Tour event.

Brazil beat India 4-1 when the two teams met the last time in Sao Paulo in 1991, in the World Group play-off. In 1966, India beat Brazil 3-2 in Calcutta, in the inter-zone final.