Bopanna returns to Davis squad

Bopanna returns to Davis squad

Rohan Bopanna on Saturday returned to the country’s Davis Cup squad after a two-year gap as AITA named a six-member team for the Asia/Oceania Group I contest against Chinese Taipei, starting January 31 in Indore.

Since Leander Paes has opted out of national duty in 2014 due to family reasons and Mahesh Bhupathi has been ignored once again, Bopanna is the sole doubles specialist in the team.

AITA handed a Davis Cup debut to Saketh Myneni, who will play doubles with Bopanna, while Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri will lead India’s challenge in singles. 

Myneni, ranked 318th, was chosen ahead of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (314), who is the third-highest ranked player in singles after Somdev (93) and Yuki (172).

Myeneni was rewarded for his superior singles record against Jeevan and his stellar performance at the Chennai Open, where he along with his Russian partner Karen Khachanov shocked the top-seeded pair of Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi en route to the semifinals.

The selection panel, led by Anil Dhupar, named Jeevan and Sanam Singh as reserve players while Ramkumar Ramanathan, who shocked Somdev at Chennai Open, as a special invitee to the squad.

The panel dropped Vijayant Malik and N Sriram Balaji from the reserves list. Sanam was in the playing squad in the last tie against Indonesia in Bangalore. 

India’s coach Zeeshan Ali said: “It was the best combination. We discussed about Mahesh Bhupathi but he is semi-retired and Rohan is a better-ranked player.”  Zeeshan said it was not right to say that  “Bhupathi has played his last tie for India.”

Bopanna’s last Davis Cup appearance was in April, 2012 against Uzbekistan in an away tie. 

Squad: Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri, Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni.

Reserves: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Sanam Singh

Special invitee: Ramkumar Ramanathan.

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