Injured Bopanna out of Davis Cup

Injured Bopanna out of Davis Cup

Nagal replaces Bengalurean

Injured Bopanna out of Davis Cup

 Just days before five-time champions Spain come calling for the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie, India have lost another of their seasoned campaigner to  injury. Doubles exponent Rohan Bopa­nna on Saturday withdrew from the tie due to a knee injury, leaving the already depleted hosts high and dry.  

“Rohan Bopanna has informed the chairman of the selection committee that due to a knee injury which he suffered during the US Open, he has been advised two weeks’ rest from competition,” AITA informed on Saturday.

“Hence he has requested for withdrawal from the Davis Cup tie against Spain which is going to be held in Delhi from 16 to 18 September 2016. His request was considered and accepted by the committee.”

In his absence, the 19-year-old Sumit Nagal, who was in the reserves, has been named the fourth member of the team.  A 2015 junior Wimbledon doubles champion, Nagal has been making steady strides on the senior circuit. He won the $25,000 Futures tournament in Poland last month and is currently playing the Futures tournament in Italy where he has reached the singles semifinals.

India are already without their main singles campaigners — Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri — both out of action due to injuries. Up against the might of the Spaniards, who have 10 players in the top-50 led by Rafael Nadal, India could only hope for a chance in the doubles, featuring Leander Paes and Bopanna. Now with Bopanna missing out on the tie, the fresh headache for India would be to zero in on a partner for Paes. Some of the selection committee members were of the view that India’s top singles player Saketh Myneni should be paired with Paes, instead of Nagal.

Myneni has played Davis Cup doubles tie in the past before making his singles debut against Korea in Chandigarh. But then that would also increase his burden while playing on back to back days.

“Well, it is not an ideal scenario for us. This tie was extremely tough for us and now with Bopanna also not there, it only adds to our challenge. I have a certain strategy in my mind which I will be discussing with our captain,” said India coach Zeeshan Ali.

The team will assemble at the RK Khanna Stadium on Sunday evening to have a session under lights. Paes is expected to arrive on Monday.

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