Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna all set to feature in Davis Cup

The All India Tennis Association has named the experienced duo in the 5-member team for their qualification tie against Croatia next month.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

India’s experienced doubles pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna are all set to line-up against Croatia in their upcoming Davis Cup tie Zagreb next month.

This after the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) pruned the six-member team to five before sending the final squad to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Tuesday.

The Indian tennis team is set to take on top-seeds Croatia in the Davis Cup qualification tie on March 6-7.

The winners from the 24-team qualifiers will advance into the Davis Cup Finals with the losers heading into World Group I.

Indian tennis team for the Davis Cup tie

While Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna are expected to feature in the doubles match, Sumit Nagal, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan are the singles players in the squad. Meanwhile, the sixth member from the earlier list -- Divij Sharan -- will be the reserve player travelling to the Croatian capital.

“We have sent our final team to the ITF today. Captain Rohit Rajpal had a chat with all the players before deciding on who is going to be the reserve player. He spoke to Divij as well, conveying that he will be the sixth member of the travelling side,” an AITA source told the Press Trust of India.

In their previous tie, the Indian tennis team beat Pakistan 4-0 to make it to the qualifiers. Against their neighbours, it was Leander Paes who partnered Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in the doubles with both Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan citing their unavailability. While Bopanna was recuperating from an injury, Sharan was busy with his wedding reception during that period.

Speaking about the team composition, non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal said that the plan was to keep all the options open and was not willing to rule out Divij Sharan’s participation in the Croatia tie.

“We have kept our options open. Coach Zeeshan (Ali) and I will try all the combinations. Divij remains in the mix,” he said.

Leander Paes’s fine form

“Paes has done well this season,” Rajpal added. “He beat Divij in Pune during the Tata Open Maharashtra and also reached the final of the Bengaluru Open Challenger. So he is in good form.

“Also, 2020 is his last season, he deserves the highest respect for serving the country for 30 years. Divij also felt the same. The team is on the same page," he explained.

With Croatia poised to name a strong side with the likes of 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic and Borna Ćorić for the tie, it will remain to be seen how the Indian tennis team performs against their much-fancied opponents away from their home comforts.