Tennis serves up reasons to cheer

HERO’S WELCOME: Davis Cup star Somdev Devvarman arrives in New Delhi on Monday. PTI

After India’s sensational 4-1 win against South Africa in Johannesburg over the weekend, Krishnan tipped Somdev Devvarman for greater things. “It is very exciting to be back in the World Group. Somdev Devvarman has shown excellent temperament for Davis Cup by winning two crucial singles matches and he is definitely a big prospect for the future,” Krishnan told IANS on Monday.

Krishnan also heaped praise on Rohan Bopanna who won the crucial singles match on the first day and 17-year old World No 1 junior Yuki Bhambri, who made a successful Davis Cup debut by clinching the second reverse singles. Krishnan hoped that Somdev would gain another “40-50 slots” so that he can get direct entries rather than having to go through the qualifying process for top tournaments.

“Somdev definitely has the potential and the fitness level and is mentally very strong. He needs to get himself another 40-50 positions in the rankings, so that he can get direct entries into the main draw of the big tournaments,” he said.

On Bhambri, Krishnan was understandably cautious. “Yes, he is just 17 and has the potential, but we need to wait and see how he develops from here on,” he opined.
Bangalore-based CGK Bhupathi, father of Mahesh, was equally ecstatic over the victory. “The most significant point is that India made it to the World Group without contribution from Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. I believe that the future looks very exciting for Indian tennis,” he said.

Bhupathi pointed out that in the past, Mahesh and Leander were the key components in the Davis Cup team, but the victory against South Africa showed that the next generation of players is fast surfacing and Indian tennis has a lot to look forward to.

Inspired by Bopanna
Somdev, who arrived in New Delhi on Monday, said Rohan Bopanna’s sensational victory over  Rik De Voest on the opening day inspired him to stage a fight back and win the crucial reverse singles on the final day. “Bopanna played a brilliant game of tennis. He was out for three months due to knee injury and this was his first match on the big stage. He lost the first set, but stepped up in the other three sets. It took the pressure off me while I was playing Rik. In fact, Bopanna helped me play the way I played on Sunday.”

Draw on Wednesday
Meanwhile, the draw for 2010 World Group will be announced on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland. Spain and the Czech Republic, the two finalists of this year, have been seeded one and two in the ranking with USA, Russia, Argentina, Croatia, Israel and Germany following in that order. The eight seeded nations will be drawn against the remaining World Group nations: Belgium, Chile, Ecuador, France, India, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland.

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