Rohan Bopanna will get prepared for Davis Cup farewell, India begins overwhelming favorite in opposition to Morocco

Hauling itself up from World Group II shouldn’t be a sophisticated process for India when it takes on an unostentatious Morocco within the residence tie, which will likely be extra of a celebration of Rohan Bopanna’s Davis Cup profession, which is able to come to a halt after 21 years on September 17.

The shortage of singles gamers who might problem the large boys of the ATP circuit, coupled with defeats in winnable matches, has damage the Indian Davis Cup crew badly in the previous few years on this crew event, however relegation to World Group II was a brand new low the Indian crew hit in February.

It was for the primary time for the reason that new format was launched in 2019 that the Indians dropped to this degree.

A lot has modified since India final performed within the Davis Cup tie in March, when it misplaced 2-3 to Denmark.

Indian tennis has hardly had any memorable moments this season till Bopanna reached the US Open last final week.

It isn’t simply the dearth of on-court ends in singles; off-court, the nation additionally felt the frustration of dropping its solely ATP 250 occasion.

Yuki Bhambri, one of many best gamers India has seen, has stopped taking part in the singles format. Ramkumar Ramanathan has dropped out of even the top-550 and is languishing at quantity 570.

Such has been his plight this season that the Chennai participant has made 17 first-round exits at completely different tournaments, together with the bottom rung, the ITF Futures degree.

It isn’t stunning that skipper Rohit Rajpal has not included Ramkumar within the lineup, although he stays part of the squad to assist prepare the gamers.

At 43, Bopanna nonetheless taking part in stable tennis

However Bopanna remains to be taking part in some stable tennis within the doubles format.

At 43, he stays some of the highly effective servers on the circuit. His strokes nonetheless have sting, and he can nonetheless pull off these gorgeous passing winners from tough angles or whereas working on flanks.

It will have been perfect if he had bought his farewell tie the place he wished — in Bengaluru — however he nonetheless has an opportunity to bid adieu to the Davis Cup earlier than the house followers.

In 32 ties performed since making his debut in 2002, the participant from Coorg has gained 22 matches, together with 10 singles.

He’ll crew up with Yuki for one last time in Davis Cup, at the same time as he continues to play on the ATP circuit. Ranked contained in the top-10, he has no causes to hold up his racquet.

The AITA felicitated Bopanna in a particular occasion on Thursday evening, the place his contribution to Indian tennis was lauded.

Bopanna can have plenty of family and friends members within the stands, which might accommodate about 1,300 individuals.

Ideally, as Bopanna had requested, his farewell tie ought to have been hosted in Benglauru, which has significantly better infrastructure and may accommodate 6,500 spectators.

Sumit Nagal in good contact

India’s primary singles participant, Sumit Nagal, is in good type. He’s getting into the tie after taking part in the ultimate of a Challenger occasion in Austria. It was his third last of the season at that degree. Except there may be an inexplicable meltdown, he would win two factors for India.

Sasi Mukund will lastly get to make his debut. He was named within the crew even for the tie in opposition to Pakistan again in 2019 however pulled out, saying he had suffered a foot damage.

Digvijay Pratap Singh has additionally made the lower, and he would possibly get to play a useless rubber.

Sizzling and humid situations will pose a critical health take a look at for each groups. The beginning of the matches has been delayed by two hours however it is going to nonetheless be a tricky process to battle the energy-sapping situations.

Morocco has just one worthy challenger for India’s singles gamers, Elliot Benchetrit, however the guests have determined to not play him on the opening day attributable to an unrevealed damage that he has simply recovered from.

The 24-year-old 6’4″ tall participant is likely to be ranked simply 465 on the ATP singles chart as of at the moment, however he touched a career-high 198 in February 2020.

Benchetrit has cherished wins in opposition to top-100 gamers, together with one in opposition to a top-50 participant, and has competed on the largest stage — the Grand Slams — too.

Nonetheless, he has been nominated to play solely the doubles alongside Yones Lalami Laaroussi.

The nominations will be modified an hour earlier than the scheduled begin.

If it seems to be only a technique to throw off the Indian crew’s preparations and Benchetrit performs on the opening day, there will likely be some struggle.

Benchetrit had certified for the US Open in 2019 and Australian Open in 2020, beating high quality gamers reminiscent of Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland on the best way. He had entered the French Open as a wild card in 2018 and took a set off Frenchman Gael Monfils earlier than dropping the opening spherical.

The visiting crew’s primary singles participant is now 20-year-old Yassine Dlimi, ranked 557. He’s nonetheless plying his commerce on the ITF Futures circuit.

So the 2 debutants will open the tie with Dlimi taking up Sasi Mukund.

Adam Moundir, ranked 779, will play the second singles in opposition to India’s primary Nagal.

Given the weak opponents, profitable this tie will not be a lot of a problem for India however chalking out a roadmap for the long run will likely be.

Critical soul-searching required

Captain Rajpal and AITA officers want to take a seat and talk about what’s unsuitable with the system that India doesn’t have a single top-100 singles participant, and the crew is now preventing it out in World Group II.

There are plenty of questions that want solutions and a few critical soul-searching.

Except India have high quality singles gamers, the nation won’t excel both in Davis Cup or Grand Slams.

Tennis stays a person {and professional} sport but it surely’s time that AITA comes up with one thing particular to save lots of the sport from plunging to new lows.


On Saturday: Sasikumar Mukund vs Yassine Dlimi; Sumit Nagal vs Adam Moundir

On Sunday: Rohan Bopanna/Yuki Bhambri vs Elliot Benchitri/Younes Lalami Laaroussi; Sumit Nagal vs Yassine Dlimi; Sasikumar Mukund vs Adam Moundir.

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