India’s new Davis Cup non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi made his intentions clear that he wanted to go with young faces in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan when he put two of the senior-most players – Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna – in the reserves category.
Though the final decision on selection was taken by the chairman of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection committee, Mahesh Bhupathi --- who was given charge of the Davis Cup team after tennis veteran Anand Amritraj’s tenure ended with the tie against New Zealand --- was consulted on the issue of selection.
And the former tennis great, who once paired with Leander Paes to bring India lots of glory in doubles, made his choices clear on Tuesday.
The team which will play Uzbekistan in the April 7-9 tie at Bangalore comprises Ramkumar Ramanathan, Yuki Bhambri, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sriram Balaji. Doubles specialists Paes and Bopanna are the two reserves, while Vishnu Vardhan has been added as a practice partner besides two juniors.
Bhupathi has been very categorical about the fact that he wants performers in the team, and on that count Paes and Bopanna haven’t done too well in the recent past. Both the players bowed out in the opening round of the Indian Wells tournament and also lost their first-round matches in the Challenger event in Irving, Texas.