Davis Cup: Rain, rain go away India wants to play

  • Sukhwant Basra, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2016 13:09 IST
Experts from South Club, Kolkata, have been roped in to prepare the court is a way to suit India. The rains have spoilt most of that work. (Sukhwant Basra)

Chandigarh: It’s been pouring in Chandigarh since last evening. The rain stops but intermittently. At times the skies pour buckets, at others they offer just a drizzle. India plan to take on South Korea on grass beginning Friday but for that to happen, the skies will have to cooperate. As of now, Indra (Vedic rain God) doesn’t seem to be in a benevolent mood. 

The grass does like the wet. Oh, it embraces it with an abandon that makes it extremely difficult to pry the two apart. You see, the thing grows on account of water. Its survival instinct demands it retains as much as it can. That limit is just a wee short of water logging. This nature of the green stuff is looking to sabotage the survival of this tie on grass courts. 

Experts from South Club, Kolkata, have been here for close to two weeks. They have painstakingly worked on getting the court to behave the way the Indian players want. The fellows even got their choice of manure all the way. And they had done a real fine job too. But now, they are helpless in the face of the weather. 

The grass might look green from a distance, but it’s really slushy underneath. (Sukhwant Basra)

This brings us to the question as to why was the tie planned on grass in the monsoon season. That apart the other moot point, perhaps even more so, is the lack of planning to protect the court from the rains. Grass court covers need to be lifted above the surface as that ensures ventilation and prevents the covers’ ‘sweat’ from trickling down to the surface. Remember those Wimbledon covers during the many rain delays this edition? Right, those are just the kind of covers we don’t have in Chandigarh. 

Bengal Tennis Association president Hiranmoy Chatterjee oversees the Super Sopper drying up water from the top of the covers before they can be removed. With more rain predicted over the weekend, it could be a very wet Davis Cup tie between India and South Korea in Chandigarh. (Sukhwant Basra )

Then, there is the super sopper. A machine with a big sponge, the sopper is said to have been hired from the local cricket association at the cost of Rs 10,000 per day. One is not sure (see video) if it’s going to be super effective. 

Meanwhile, the draw was held in the morning. Now, the draw isn’t really about who plays whom. Davis Cup rules don’t allow the top two singles players of opposing teams to face off till Sunday. So it’s just a ceremony to decide which particular match is played first. 

As it turns out Ramkumar Ramanathan (world no 217) gets to take on Seong Chan Hong (427) in the opener and then Saketh Myneni (150) will face Yong-Kyu Lim (626). Yunseong Chung and Hong Chung are slated to take on Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna in the doubles but the Koreans have the option of changing their combo till one hour before the match. 

International Tennis Federation rules stipulate that in case of paucity of playing time on account of hindrances like rain, two singles and the doubles can be held on the same day. There is also a provision to extend the tie by one day. So, while it’s real wet here in Chandigarh as of now and the tie looks dicey, the gentlemen from South Club have been known to work miracles in the past. Just that one is not sure if they have Indra on speed dial.

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