Indian Tennis veterans Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna are set to lead the charge in the Davis Cup match against China along with the likes of Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sumit Nagal and Divij Sharan. Paes makes a return to the side after last featuring against Uzbekistan in April 2017.
The All India Tennis Association had tipped Leander Paes to make a return to the Davis Cup team ahead of the upcoming tie against neighbours China. The 44-year-old could become the first player to win 43 Davis Cup ties if he is able to win the doubles tie in the Asia/Oceania Group I encounter versus China.
Paes, who recently returned to the top-50 world ranking, will be joined by the likes of Yuki Bhambri, Ramanathan Ramkumar and Sumit Nagal who are in the team due to their individual performances along with long-standing veteran Rohan Bopanna. Divij Sharan, who was ranked 44th in the world and is currently two spots ahead of Paes, had been named as a reserve in place of the dropped Purav Raja.
Paes’ place in the team was under a cloud of mystery as he had earlier been dropped from the team by then-captain Mahesh Bhupathi which led to a nasty war of words between the two. But his impressive performances of late seemed to have impressed the AITA personnel, as they deemed him suitable to claim a place in the squad.
AITA President Praveen Mahajan, in a press release, was quoted saying, "the best team should represent the nation and I wish the Indian team all the very best."