India is to play a formidable Italy in the World Cup qualifier at the grass court of Calcutta South Club. The prestigious South Club is hosting the competition after a gap of 16 years.
India’s non-playing Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi has said that Indians are not intimidated by the Italians. Bhupathi said: “I think my boys are experienced enough to understand that the rankings when Davis Cup comes into play are not really a factor.”
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“They have all played at the highest level now. Both Prajnesh (Gunneswaran) and Ramkumar (Ramanathan) have played Grand Slams and Tour events. So, it is not like that they would be intimidated. When I was playing Davis Cup, if I played a top-ranked player it was different for me because I was always competing at the Challenger level. But with these guys, I do not think ranking plays a factor. I think they actually truly believe that they are capable of beating them if they play well,” he added.
High expectations from Prajnesh and Ramkumar
The former World No. 1 in doubles has great expectations from Prajnesh and Ramkumar, the two pillars of his team. “Prajnesh qualified for his first Grand Slam so he is on an all-time high in terms of confidence. He has had an amazing breakthrough year last year. He is a late bloomer because of injuries but is definitely brimming with confidence.”
“Having said that, Ram is going to be super dangerous on these courts. We all saw what he did in Newport (ATP Tour final) last year as he reached the final, which he should have won. So we are positive,” Bhupathi added.
Davis Cup India vs Italy Preview
India has played 5 times against Italy and Kolkata is the very venue that India have won once in 1985.
The winner of this match will play in the inaugural World Group Finals, to be held in Madrid in November this year.
However, according to a TOI report, The national tennis federation may not renew the contract of Mahesh Bhupathi as captain of the Indian Davis Cup team if it fails to qualify for the World Group Finals.
Bhupathi had replaced Anand Amritraj as captain in April 2017. The match against Italy will be fifth under Bhupathi – the multiple Grand Slam winner – who began with a 4-1 win over Uzbekistan in Bengaluru.
Where to watch India vs Italy Davis Cup tie:
Doordarshan will now telecast live India’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Italy.
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