Somdev to lead India against Serbia; Yuki makes return

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection committee on Wednesday decided to go ahead with the young team which carried India to the Davis Cup World Group play-off, for the tie against Serbia on home soil.

The six-member squad for the September 12-14 tie scheduled in Bangalore include Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri, who is returning to the side after skipping the previous tie due to a heel injury, Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni.

Tamil Nadu players Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Ramkumar Ramanathan have been included in the squad as reserve players. Veteran Mahesh Bhupathi did not make the cut.

The selection committee, unlike last time, also kept the ranking of players in mind leading to the omission of Sanam Singh from the team. Sanam, who played the second singles in the absence of Yuki against South Korea, was preferred over other higher ranked players for the Asian Games, where he had won the gold with Somdev.  The Chandigarh boy, however, has been asked to join the squad in order to practice for the Games which begins after the Davis Cup tie.

The meeting was chaired by Anil Dhupar and attended by Zeeshan Ali and selector Balram Singh. SP Misra, Nandan Bal and Rohit Rajpal were contacted over telephone.
Surprising move

In a surprising move, the AITA accepted Delhi player Shweta Rana’s request of reconsidering the women’s team selection for the Asian Games and dropped Asian Junior Champion Sneha Devi Reddy to make way for her.

The Asian Games squad was announced on August 2 and Shweta was named among the reserves. Disappointed, she wrote to AITA insisting she deserved to be in the main squad, pointing to her 3-0 record over Snehadevi besides being the higher ranked between the two. Shweta is ranked at 580 while the 17-year old from Chennai is placed 889.

The AITA in its release said “they had preferred Snehadevi Reddy over Shweta Rana to encourage junior players .The selectors noted that Snehadevi, in spite of doing well in two Future tournaments in Delhi, lost in the qualifying round in Bangalore Futures. The committee has decided to consider the application of Shweta Rana in this background.”

The AITA decided to recommend Snehadevi's name to government for financial  assistance as one of the players for the 2019 Asian Games.

While Snehadevi is understandably “disappointed” to be relegated to the reserves, her father P Shankar Reddy questioned AITA’s change of heart.

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