Anything can happen in new Davis Cup format: Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Best of three set matches would be played inside two days as 24 teams will lock horns around the world on Friday and Saturday in their bid for the World Group Finals in Madrid in November.tennis Updated: Jan 29, 2019 19:14 IST
India’s number one singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran on Tuesday said beating formidable sides is a possibility in the new Davis Cup format as he looks forward to cash in on his stupendous form in the Qualifier match against Italy.
Best of three set matches would be played inside two days as 24 teams will lock horns around the world on Friday and Saturday in their bid for the World Group Finals in Madrid in November.
“Honestly, the change in format would not really matter to me. It’s a bit more physical if we play five sets and in best of three anything can happen. It’s in two days and not three days so I don’t really see too much of a difference,” Prajnesh told reporters at the Calcutta South Club.
Prajnesh on Monday jumped seven places in the world ranking to be on a career- high rank of 102 as he attempts to build on a successful 2018 where he won two Challenger titles in four finals and also upset now world number 27 Denis Shapovalov on grass at the Stuttgart Open.
“I’ve had enough tournaments and over the last couple of years and I’ve had a very good run in the last six months and I’m looking forward to using the momentum and trying to do as well as possible here,” he said.
“I’m just going to approach it like every other match. I focus, prepare for my match and then I try to execute my game plan and don’t worry too much about the situation or what’s on the line and all of that.”
Aiming to break into top-100, Prajnesh said: “I am playing a few few Challengers, first one in China and then there are two in Bangkok so I will be playing those.” Indian coach Zeeshan Ali said Calcutta South Club was slower than they expected.
“There are bad bounces which is normal, the ball is staying low. But also having said that, it is still slower than what we expected,” Ali said.
India have chosen grass keeping in mind of the Italians strong advantage over clay or hard courts. But the fact remains that grass is not a familiar surface for both the India and Italy sides.
The hosts checked in about a week prior to get acclimatised to the conditions and Ali said, “In terms of having settled in and gotten more practice on grass, we would be a lot more comfortable.” “But we are playing against a team that has three top 60 players in the world. So we are still very much the underdogs here.
“Our players need to go out there and play their A game to have a chance of upsetting a strong team again, like Italy, so every match is going to be very tough for us, regardless of who’s playing for them.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s on grass, clay or hard...it was always going to be a difficult for us,” he said. Meanwhile, Tournament referee Wayne McKewen said the grasscourts are in great shape but it’s a work in progress in the stands.
Hosting the premier men’s tennis event after 16 years, the Calcutta South Club is racing against time as the 2600-capacity makeshift galleries are still being erected with just two days left for the tie.
“I’ve been told they’re going to be completed by Friday. It’s always difficult when you come to a venue like this where a lot of the infrastructure is temporary,” McKewen, fresh from officiating in the Australian Open, told reporters. Zeeshan said the grasscourt appeared to be slow but McKewen said it’s just in perfect condition.
“My main concern is the court and it looks in good shape. It’s just the stands that are being built that are a work in progress at the moment. I don’t see a problem,” he said adding that both the teams will get one hour each practice time on the actual court.
He also defended the revamped Davis Cup format.
First Published: Jan 29, 2019 19:13 IST