Paes to play; Djokovic uncertain for Davis Cup tie
Leander Paes' participation in next weekend's Davis Cup world group playoff here was confirmed on Sunday, but it was still uncertain whether World No.1 Novak Djokovic will be assisting Serbia.sports Updated: Sep 07, 2014 21:34 IST
Leander Paes' participation in next weekend's Davis Cup World Group playoff here was confirmed on Sunday, but it was still uncertain whether World No.1 Novak Djokovic will be assisting Serbia.
Indian Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj said at a media conference here Sunday evening that Paes would definitely be part of the squad.
Paes will partner Rohan Bopanna in the doubles tie while Saketh Myneni, who was originally part of the contingent, will be one of the reserves.
Amritraj's counterpart Bogdan Obradovic said he would be speaking with Djokovic Sunday night to ascertain his availability.
"I can confirm that Leander Paes will be joining our team to play doubles with Rohan Bopanna. I spoke with Leander in New York last night (Saturday) and he agreed to be here for the tie. Leander will be arriving in Bangalore Tuesday morning. Saketh will be one of the reserves," Amritraj said.
The intention of bringing in Paes was to field the "best possible Indian team" for the tie against Serbia, he said.
He said Myneni took the change in his stride.
"I congratulate Saketh on his performance in the two previous ties and he is the only unbeaten player in the team. His victories with Rohan in the doubles matches carried India to this stage.
"We spoke to Saketh. He is a team player and said he will go along with whatever the team decides and would do anything for the country," said Amritraj.
Bopanna, who was ranked No.3 in doubles, said: "It gives me great pride to play for India at the Davis Cup, as always. It would be my pleasure to play with Leander. We have been in discussion for the past few months and were looking for the opportunity to play together for the country.
"Leander brings a tremendous amount of experience to any partnership. Since he has been ranked as high as No.1 in the world and I have been ranked No.3, I am confident that we will be a formidable team.
"I am sure there is going to be some great, exciting tennis over the weekend and I hope we are the strongest team out there! I look forward to playing with Leander," Bopanna said in a statement.
Asked whether changing a winning combination would benefit the team, Amritraj asserted that given the quality of opponents such as Serbia, it was imperative that India fielded the best possible team.
"This (the tie against Serbia) is one level up. Rohan felt that if he could get Leander to play doubles, it would help India's cause. Also, Leander's presence will be intimidating for the opponents.
"In fact, I had spoken with Leander at the Chennai Open earlier this year and he said he would not be available for the first two ties (against Chinese-Taipei and Korea), but would consider playing if India were to qualify for the World Group playoffs.
"So, we have the best team now with Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri playing the singles, and Leander and Bopanna the doubles," Amritraj said.