Croatia pose tough challenge for Indian tennis team at Davis Cup

The Balkan nation boasts of a Grand Slam singles winner in their ranks and two top-20 doubles players.

By Rahul Venkat ·

The Indian tennis team, headlined by the retiring veteran Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will face an uphill task when they face off against Croatia in the Davis Cup qualifiers in Zagreb on March 6-7.

A win against Croatia will grant the Indian tennis team a spot in the Davis Cup 2021 Finals in Madrid. They have faced their opponents just once before in the Davis Cup (in 1995), where they emerged victorious courtesy Leander Paes’ win in both singles and doubles.

The Indian legend had come back from two sets down against the then-world no. 7 and future Wimbledon winner, Goran Ivanisevic to give Indian tennis one of its most memorable victories.

However, Croatia has won the Davis Cup twice since then and will certainly prove tough opponents once more.

Indian tennis squad for Davis Cup

The Indian team has named a five-man contingent for the tie. India’s top-ranked singles player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who sat out of the Pakistan tie, returns in the singles and he is joined by Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the category.

Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will pair up for India in the doubles, with Divij Sharan to travel as the reserve sixth player.

Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will lead the Indian challenge against Croatia

The previous round against Pakistan was a breeze for the Indian tennis team as they won 4-0 with Sumit Nagal, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Leander Paes all notching wins.

Croatia have named 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic alongside Nino Serdarusic and Borna Gojo for the singles, the latter replacing the injured Borna Coric.

World nos. 10 and 15, Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic will team up for the fixture against India’s doubles specialists Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna.

Davis Cup schedule and fixtures

The tie is set to be held on March 6 and 7 at the Dom Sportova indoor stadium in capital Zagreb. The draw for the tie will take place a day before the matches begin.

Why Davis Cup is important for the 2020 Olympics

While a spot at the Davis Cup finals is at stake, the matches will also boost ATP rankings. This is especially important for Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, as they bid to make an appearance for India at Olympics 2020.

Where you can watch the Davis Cup

The Indian tennis team’s Davis Cup tie against Croatia will be broadcast on DSport, with matches set to begin at 7.30 pm IST.