With wet conditions caused by incessant rain adding to the challenge, veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes said on Thursday that the team which adapts quicker will have the edge in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-I tie between India and South Korea.
“I think that tennis on grass is more technical, so the one who adjusts to these conditions faster, is going to have a big advantage,” Paes said after the draw ceremony in Chandigarh.
The weather was inclement in Chandigarh today and according to the local MeT Department’s Director, Surinder Paul, more rains are likely to occur in the city over the next 2-3 days.
Ram Kumar Ramnathan will take on Seong-Chan Hong, ranked more than 200 places below him, in the first singles match here tomorrow.
“We were hoping that it would turn out like this where Ram gets to play the first match. Also, we were thinking about whether Lim would play doubles or not. It will be interesting to see how the weather holds out and how the matches eventually get played. But as a team, we are ready for any situation that arises,” Paes said.
About wet conditions here, Paes said, “We have played in wet conditions before, especially when we played against Switzerland in Kolkata. We had rain literally all through Thursday night and on Friday morning when we got out there the court was really soft and damp. Being grass, we need to take care of that court really well”.
The tie will be played out at the grass-courts of Chandigarh Club here and Paes said the Indians are ready for the challenge.
“As a team, we are all ready for the tie and hopefully we can start on time tomorrow, but if that doesn’t happen, I believe we might be able to play three matches on Saturday -- two singles and a doubles -- which means we might have an earlier start on Saturday.
Led by Somdev Devvarman, a new crop of singles players more comfortable playing on hard courts, took over and the country’s preferred surface became hard courts in recent years.
Poor form and a foot injury ruled Somdev out of this tie, as AITA’s selection committee in consultation with other players chose to host the matches on grass.
The advantage is there but India have its own set of problems to deal with. The hosts have Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes as the doubles pair for the tie as AITA want them to tune up for the Rio Olympic Games by resolving their differences.
Bopanna did not want to play with Paes at the Rio Games, but AITA shot down his preference, which was Myneni.
It’s baffling how the mistrust of years can be removed in one week. Bopanna has already taken pot shots at Paes for him joining the side too late.
Paes is one of the greatest in the game in doubles and Bopanna too had his share of high moments in his career. More than the Korean rivals, their own differences could be their bigger enemy.
Being different individuals they can have differences but sometimes it hurts the team and the country more than their personal interests.
Still it is the best option looking forward. India will certainly benefit if the two players can forget personal issues and find ‘chemistry’ before Rio.
The winner of the tie will advance to the World Group Play-offs and will clash with either China or Uzbekistan. For India, it will be an away tie if they advance to Play-offs.