Istomin blow to Uzbekistan

Istomin blow to Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s worst fear came true on Tuesday as their top singles player Denis Istomin was ruled out of the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I round 2 tie against India.

Istomin, who reached a career high ranking of 33 and shocked the world early this year when he sent 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic packing in the second round of the Australian Open, underwent tests back home in Tashkent for a foot injury. The doctors failed to clear him, ruling the World No 71 out of action for two weeks.

Captain Petr Lebed, however, said he had a feeling Istomin wouldn’t play this tie and was prepared with a back-up plan. “Istomin was initially supposed to come on Saturday but when he said he would stay back for tests on his injured foot, I had a feeling he would not turn up at all. I had a Plan B in place. Now, with two days left, it gives me enough time to work on who plays singles and doubles.”

India coach Zeeshan Ali felt Istomin’s absence leaves the match intriguingly poised. “Istomin not coming is definitely good for us. But you also have to consider the fact that we are not playing two of our best singles players (due to injury). The tie is more balanced and even now. The matches are going to be very tough and competitive, there’s no doubt about that.”

Meanwhile veteran Leander Paes, a reserve player, checked into the city on Tuesday night and will train with the team on Wednesday. India captain Mahesh Bhupathi kept the door open for the 44-year-old. “Obviously when you are playing at the highest level of doubles it's in the interest of the country to field the best possible team. I feel once the level declines past a point, every tennis player is capable of playing good doubles as long as he's pointed in the right direction. So, that's the reason we are still uncertain on who's playing doubles on Saturday.”
DH News Service

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