Ankita named Fed Cup captain

Ankita named Fed Cup captain

Ankita Bhambri has been named the captain and coach of the Indian Fed Cup team for the Asia-Oceania tie from February 7-10 at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex.

The former Fed Cup player said she was "honoured" to assume the responsibility of the team which was announced officially by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Saturday after getting the nod from International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The team comprises Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Pranjala Yadlapalli and Prarthana Thombare. Rutuja Bhosale and Zeel Desai have been named in the reserves. The team will be without their most experienced player Sania Mirza, who is out with an injury, leaving Thombare as the only doubles specialist in the team.

Ankita, who is well acquainted with the players, called it to be a tough group, but exuded confidence in rising up to the challenge. The group includes teams like China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand who will fight to gain the World Group-II play-off spot.

"This is a really tough group. The players are aware they will have to face the teams that have some very high ranked players. They know that they all have to play their best tennis. We have a good team," Ankita, who was also the coach of the women's team in the Asian Indoor Games, told DH.

"It is important for the players to be very strong in all three sets. One has to be mentally and physically prepared for each day."

Assessing the Indian team, which is ranked 32, Ankita said:"We have an interesting bunch of players. Ankita Raina has been in the team for some time now. Karman is coming up and has done really well recently. I have travelled in a team where I was the senior and Pranjala junior, it was long time ago though. So I know the players. It is important that we gel well as a team and, playing at home, build on the advantage."

With Sania not playing, Ankita said she would have to take a call on the doubles combination. "Sania is one of the best doubles players in the world, so we will obviously miss her. However, these girls don't play on the circuit together, so we will have to decide on the right doubles combination. I will take a call in due course," she said adding they would have a camp before the Fed Cup depending on the availability of players.

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