India’s most decorated Davis Cup player and French Open champion Leander Paes is set to skip the second round Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against South Korea. Somdev Devvarman, India’s leading singles player is also set to miss the tie, which is to be held from July 15 to 17 in Chandigarh.
Leander Paes, 18-time Grand Slam champion and one of India’s greatest Davis Cup players, will miss the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against South Korea. The 42-year-old had made himself unavailable for Davis Cup duties at the start of the year, in order to concentrate on what could be his last Olympic Games. The Davis Cup tie would be played one month before the Rio Games.
Paes’ last appearance in the tournament was against Czech Republic in September 2015. Also missing notably would be Somdev Devvarman, who will be out with a foot injury. He hasn’t played since March due to this injury, and has seen his ranking slip to 335. With a World Group playoff berth at stake, this is a huge blow to the host’s chances.
This might pave for the next highest ranked singles players, Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanthan, and Rohan Bopanna to be named in the team on June 11th . Yuki Bhambri is nursing a tennis elbow, but is expected to return in time for Wimbledon in June according to The Hindu. Captain Anand Amritraj said that they were still waiting for Yuki to recover.
Grass has been picked as the surface for the tie, probably because of Devvarman’s absence,who is predominantly a hard-court player.
Explaining the decision, Amritraj said,“I checked with the boys. The Koreans won’t be comfortable. Psychologically they will not be happy. It will be after the grass season and some of them haven’t seen a grass court before! For us, with big serving guys like Saketh or Ramkumar, it gives the best chance of beating them. Also Chandigarh, or for that matter the whole of India, will be so hot in July. So between the grass and the heat, we hope to beat them.”
Into his third year as Davis Cup captain, Amritraj has decided not to accompany India’s Olympic contigent. “To me the Davis Cup is more important. We have to win this tie somehow. I enjoy the Davis Cup role. The agreement is sort of open-ended. I am excited to continue doing it for the foreseeable future,” he told The Hindu.
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