Davis Cup: Somdev, Yuki back; Bhupathi, Bopanna axed

Last Updated 23 February 2013, 13:16 IST

Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambhri and Sanam Singh are back in India's Davis Cup tennis squad. After staying away from the tie against Korea, they have returned for the April 5-7 Asia/Oceania first round play-off against Indonesia in Bangalore.

Somdev, who led the players' rebellion against the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and Yuki were picked for the singles, while Sanam will double up as third singles player and partner Leander Paes in the doubles.

Shiram Balaji and Vijayant Malik are the two reserves. The selectors also decided to include promising juniors the new national champion Ramkumar Ramanathan and Arjun Khade to join the squad as hitting partners so that they get the feel practising with the Davis Cup squad.

The selectors added a rider to the doubles combination, saying that the non-playing captain Shiv Prakash Misra and coach Zeeshan Ali will take the call before the tie.

Misra, who attended Saturday's selection committee meeting, was requested by AITA secretary general Bharat Oza to continue for one more tie. The tie against Korea was to be the former Davis Cupepr's last in captain's chair.

There is no Davis Cup commitment for India till next year after the Bangalore tie and by that time AITA is hoping to resolve all outstanding issues, including an agreeable name for the captain's position.

Oza hoped the players, especially Somdev will not have any problems playing under Misra. Among the many demands of players was the removal of Misra.

"We don't expect anything. We only hope that players will come forward and play together. Misra wanted to step down after the South Korea match itself, but we requested him to see through the Indonesia tie," said Oza, adding it is the executive's prerogative to name the captain and coach.

Doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, despite their higher rankings on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) charts, failed get the selectors' nod, thus indicating the end of the road for the two Bangloreans.

In any case, Bhupathi,38, had said that this is his last year on the pro circuit, while Bopanna, 32, has a couple of more years.

The two players, who insisted on playing together at the the London Olympcs against the selectors' wish that Bhupathi should pair up with Paes, were banned till 2014 on disciplinary grounds, but a court stayed it.

Chief selector Anil Dhupar was at pains to explain the media why they could not get Bhupathi or Bopanna, saying he and his colleagues decided on three singles players and one top doubles player purely on the basis of rankings.

"The strategy is to generally have three singles players so that the third one could play the doubles as well as the reverse singles in an exigency. All the three players are good singles players, so there is no room for two doubles specialists," said Dhupar forgetting that Paes and Bhupathi have for long played only the doubles.

Dhupar said the all the players had made themselves available for selection.

"It wasn't a difficult job for selectors. Somdev has been in good form in the last two months and Leander will lead them again," said Dhurpar.

Dhupar said Purab Raja, who partenered Paes in India's only won the 1-4 loss against South Korea in the first round earlier this month, was also considered for selection.

But the selectors' first choice was Vishnu Vardhan, who also couldn't make it due to a knee injury. Vardhan had partnered Paes in the London Games.

(Published 23 February 2013, 12:53 IST)

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