Paes praises eager Vishnu

Indian ace says he was asked not to reach out to Bopanna

Paes praises eager Vishnu

Vishnu Vardhan was preparing to be the chief guest of a school function in Hyderabad on Thursday when he received a late night call from Leander Paes on Wednesday. Saketh Myneni, India’s highest singles player, at 205, and the doubles partner for Paes for the tie, had to pull out due to injury, and the Indian camp was left desperate in its search of a last-minute replacement.  

Vishnu, who had been kicking himself for delaying the visa application for Challenger event in Kazakhstan, couldn’t help wondering at the quirks of fate.

“I got a call first from Leander and then Zeeshan. Futures and other ITF events come regularly, but not Davis Cup," said Vishnu, who partnered Paes in 2012 London Games. “It will be great to play with Leander.”

Paes thanked Vishnu for his readiness. "Someone smart said two hours ago that you and Vishnu do seem to have a little destiny together. The way he responded speaks a lot about his patriotism.”

The 43-year-old said if he achieves his record of winning the most Davis Cup matches, on Saturday, it would be important to the country too. “I played my first Davis Cup tie on February 2 in 1990 with (current team coach) Zeeshan Ali. Now it is 27 years. The reason I play Davis Cup is because I love to play for the people, for the flag and equally importantly for the team,” he said.

"I have to give a shout out to Yuki (Bhambri). Yuki was asked whether he could play singles as well as doubles and Yuki said 'if it’s required after my Friday match I will come forward and play.'”

Asked he if considered calling Rohan Bopanna, Paes said: “I would be very happy to make that first call to Rohan. I was asked not to," said Paes, but didn’t divulge more.

New Zealand captain Alistair Hunt, a doubles partner of Paes in his junior days, said his players were not affected by warm conditions. The matches begin 3 pm on Friday and Sunday and 5:30 pm on Saturday.

"Our players are used to playing in warm conditions. We have settled in here nicely,” said Hunt.

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