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Davis Cup | India likely to play Italy on grass

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Davis Cup | India likely to play Italy on grass

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SportsCafe Desk


India will host its Davis Cup tie against Italy on grass which hasn't been the norm in last one decade as the players have mostly preferred hardcourts for the game than grass ones. Italy is way ahead of India considering two top players - Fabio Fognini (ranked 14) and Macro Cecchinato (ranked 20). 

Grass court is expected to make a “comeback” for the qualifying round tie of the Davis Cup against Italy as the Indian team believes that this is the best chance to script an upset. According to a TOI report, in case, the AITA finalizes the grass, Calcutta South Club could be a frontrunner to host. Italy is way ahead of India considering two stormy players named Fabio Fognini, and Macro Cecchinato in the team.

“It’s a big tie.. the idea is to make conditions as home-friendly as possible. On grass we have a better chance of beating them,” captain Mahesh Bhupathi told TOI on Monday.

As per the latest ATP rankings, Italy is way ahead of India with two players in the top 20- Fabio Fognini (No.14) and Macro Cecchinato (20)- and one more in top 50 (Andreas Seppi, 37th). 

On the other hand, the top three Indians are ranked 108 (Yuki Bhambri), 121 (Ramkumar Ramanathan) and 142 (Prajnesh Gunneswaran). 

“For us to play in the World Group, there are no easy opponents. It’s good we have the home advantage and we’ll try to make it count,” said Bhupathi. 

The Calcutta South Club is also excited to host the Davis Cup tie and aims to bring the glory home to Kolkata after 16 years. According to the recent rule, which has been majorly followed by ITF, there must be a space behind each baseline of ‘not less than 27 feet. This rule has been applicable for all World Group ties. At South Club, there is 21 feet behind the baselines. 

“We have asked the ITF for clarifications. Let’s see if we can get an exemption.” Bhupathi has no preferences as far as the venue is concerned. “There are grass courts at quite a few places where we have played before… The AITA has to take the call.” Chandigarh and Jaipur are the other options, but the 27-feet rule will be a problem there as well,” said AITA secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee.

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