Yuki Bhambri has decided to skip India's Davis Cup World Group first round tie against Russia in Moscow from March 5-7, preferring to play a Challenger in the US. Sanam Singh gets into the five-member squad.
Yuki, who began his Davis Cup career winning a dead rubber against South Africa in the World Group play-off in Johannesburg in September, informed the selectors that he would prefer to be on the circuit instead of cooling his heels as the fifth member in the squad and his request was accepted.
The Indian squad is back at full strength with the return of Leander Paes, who missed the Joburg tie with a shoulder injury, and he will partner Mahesh Bhupathi in the doubles.
Captain Shiv Prasad Misra told IANS that the second singles spot should probably go to Rohan Bopanna, who won the second singles against South Africa to give India a 2-0 lead on the opening day, and also because the tie is going to be on hardcourt in an indoor arena.
He, however, did not rule out the chances of Sanam Singh who has been doing well at Virginia University where India's No. 1 singles player Somdev Devvarman was a two time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion.
Misra also felt the hardcourt should suit the Indians as they were comfortable playing on a similar surface against South Africa.
Misra said he and the support staff including coach Nandan Bal would leave for Moscow on Feb 27 and the singles players would join them Feb 28. Paes and Bhupathi are expected to join them a couple of days later after fulfilling their circuit commitments.
The squad: Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Somdev Devvarman, Sanam Singh. Captain: S.P. Misra, Coach: Nandan Bal.