India drawn to meet Norway in Davis Cup, away tie dates clash with Asian Games
New Delhi, Mar 31 (Tennis News) The Indian Davis Cup team was on Thursday drawn to meet Norway in its next World Group I tie but the country's participation in the away contest is under doubt since it is clashing with the Asian Games in September.
The Davis Cup tie will be held either on September 16-17 or 17-18 while the tennis event at the Asian Games are scheduled to be held from September 10-14.
Even if the Indian players complete their Asian Games engagement by April 14, it will be practically difficult to reach Norway for the tie since the players need to acclimatise before they take to the courts.
It is going to be a challenge for the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to ensure that the country is represented in both the events.
"We and the Asian Tennis Federation had written to ITF about this, since 12 Asian countries are going to be affected by this. We had asked for a change in date but they did not agree, so we are filing an appeal to the ITF," AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar told PTI.
"We want to play both the events and so do other nations. Pakistan is also filing a separate appeal. Let's see." Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Japan and India feature in World Group I while China, Lebanon, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Indonesia feature in World Group II in this year's September ties.
Korea and Kazakhstan are part of the Davis Cup Finals. The Group stage of the event will played from September 14-18.
India and Norway, who have world number eight Casper Ruud in their ranks, have never clashed in the history of Davis Cup.
Their next best player is Viktor Durasovic, who is placed 329 in singles ATP chart.
"Every tie at this level is tough and when it is an away tie, it is a different challenge. It is too early to see if the draw is good for us. There is still a lot of time before the tie," said India coach Zeeshan Ali.
The Indian government is supporting tennis players like Rohan Boanna and Sania Mirza through the TOPS scheme and would like to see these established names competing for the medals at the Asian Games.
At the 2018 Games in Jakarta and Palembang, India's Ankita Raina and Prajnesh Gunneswaran won the singles bronze medals, while the pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan claimed the men's doubles gold.
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News Source : PTI
There is a gap in Indian tennis but structured plan in place for future: Rohit Rajpal
New Delhi, Mar 2 (Tennis News) India's Davis Cup captain Rohit Rajpal acknowledged that there is a "gap" in Indian tennis at the moment with the next line not quite visible but asserted that a "structured plan" is in place to ensure that the fresh pool of talent emerges soon.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Davis Cup World Group 1 play-off tie against Denmark on Friday and Saturday, Rajpal was asked about the plan for the future in Indian tennis given that the squad still features a 41-year-old doubles specialist in Rohan Bopanna.
"We have a decent line-up for singles, we have a good line-up for doubles but we do have an issue that some of the players are getting older for example, Rohan is getting on the other side of 40, and that is worrying for me," Rajpal said in a press conference here.
"There is a gap in Indian tennis at this moment. We are also opening centre of excellence and sports science centre. Overall, we are trying to create a pipeline. (Davis Cup coach) Zeeshan Ali has moved to Delhi, we have picked up some kids, some more will be picked. We have a structured plan. We are trying to cover the gap. That's the effort," he added.
About the tie, Rajpal reiterated that the grass court would work to India's advantage and was especially pleased to have Yuki Bhambri back in the mix. Bhambri (863) along with Ramkumar Ramanathan (182) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (228) make up the singles line-up.
"Ram has been playing well, he won a Challenger in the Middle East. I am very happy to have Yuki Bhambri in the team. We have been working on his fitness to make sure he is ready for the tie," Rajpal said.
Asked about the home advantage against the Danes, Rajpal said the surface certainly gives India the edge.
"It all depends who you are playing against, if you have a Federer and Nadal then you haven't won half the battle. Otherwise, the home side has advantage because you get to choose the surface," he pointed out.
Denmark Captain Frederik Nielsen agreed with that assessment.
"I trust my boys, playing on the grass court will not be the biggest upset in the history of Davis Cup but it's needless to say that it may cause some upsets to win this tie," said Nielsen.
The two captains also touched on the dying art of serve and volley in an increasingly power-driven game.
"The art of serve and volley is dying. The players are strong, athletic, stroking machines, they run down and hit back, and they hit very hard. The touch is gone, the craft is dying, which is quite sad. (But) over here you will see lot of serve volley," said Rajpal.
Nielsen was not particularly sad about the craft's fading relevance and listed the practical reasons why players are looking for big, powerful shots.
"Conditions don't suit serve and volley anymore. The players are big, the conditions are slow. The equipment is too good. It's too easy to hit and hit harder shots.
"In order to change that you have to change the surface, play on faster surfaces. There is really no benefit in encouraging serve and volley anymore. The surface encourages baseline rallies," he said.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic parts ways with long term coach Marian Vajda
News Source : PTI
Nagal dropped, Yuki returns for Davis Cup tie against Denmark
New Delhi, Feb 2 (Tennis News) Sumit Nagal has been dropped from the five-member Indian Davis Cup team for the World Group 1 play-off tie against Denmark here next month, the national tennis federation said on Wednesday.
Nagal (world ranked 222) made way for Yuki Bhambri (863) in the squad which also has Ramkumar Ramanathan (182) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (228) as other singles players.
The team has been selected keeping in mind the playing surface as both India's top-ranked singles player -- Ramkumar and comeback man Yuki -- are comfortable playing on grass courts.
Gunneswaran and Nagal, on the other hand, are not grass court players.
Besides, doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna has retained his place in the squad alongside Divij Sharan, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) said.
Saketh Myneni and Digvijay Pratap Singh are the two reserve players in the squad, to be coached by Zeeshan Ali, and has Rohit Rajpal as non-playing captain.
The tie will be held at the grass courts of Delhi Gymkhana Club on March 4 and 5, inside a bio-security bubble.
The team was handpicked after a virtual meeting of the Professional Selection Committee of AITA on January 29.
According to a statement issued by AITA, the meeting was attended by chairman Nandan Bal, members Balram Singh, Mustafa Ghouse, Sai Jayalakshmy, Rajpal, Zeeshan Ali and AITA secretary general Anil Dhupar.
The team will assemble in New Delhi on February 23.
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News Source : PTI
India lacks structured programme but we are on way to create one: Davis Cup captain and coach
New Delhi, Dec 20 (Tennis News) The lack of depth in Indian tennis is due to the lack of a structured programme, Davis Cup captain Rohit Rajpal said on Monday but, along with coach Zeeshan Ali, expressed optimism that the establishment of National Tennis Centre will soon start producing players to take the game forward.
The NTC has started functioning at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) but arranging funds for the ambitious project, which offers scholarships to top junior players and aims to provide stat-of-the-art training facilities to the best men and women Indian players, is still keeping the national federation, AITA, worried.
India does not have a single top-100 players in the singles format and the best-ranked player is 27-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan, who is placed 184 on the ATP chart. Prajnesh Gunneswaran, at 32, is not getting any younger and Rohan Bopanna has already touched 41.
Yuki Bhambri, 29, has lost precious time to injuries and the 24-year-old Sumit Nagal too has his own limitations.
Currently, the next Davis Cup players are nowhere to be seen.
India does not have a single junior player in top-5 even among Asians. Nishant Dabas at 97, is the only player in top-100 juniors in the world. Players from Namibia, Morocco, Kazkahstan and Brazil are ranked much higher than the Indians.
"We must do something. It's a worrisome situation. We used to dominate in Asia at least but it's not the case any more. This is because of lack of a structured programme," rued Rajpal, who was present during the launch of the second season of Pro Tennis League.
"But now NTC is there. Consistent pipeline is a necessity, something that badminton has done, is needed for tennis." Zeeshan, who is heading the coaching programme of the NTC, said "nothing happens overnight." Zeeshan left his base in Bangalore and moved to Noida along with his family to head the NTC.
"The objective of the NTC is not just giving training to the juniors but create a base for all top players of the country, where they can come and use the facilities," said Zeshan.
"The physios, the fitness trainers, gym, pool, restaurant and more importantly a sports science centre where the players and can have their injury issues addressed in a scientific manner." The NTC has, as of now, taken Karan Singh, Ajay Malik, Nishant Dabas, Riya Sachdeva (U14) under its wings, taking care of all the expenses of their training and stay at DLTA.
Suraj Prabodh, Nitin Sinha have also made NTC their base as about 35 players, including from Singapore and Middle East, now train at the centre.
NTC will also tie up with Open schools for online class of its trainees so that their education does not suffer.
"We have lost a lot of players to the US College system. I am sure, given a choice the players will like to turn Pro than play college tennis. And 70-80 per cent of Indian players can't afford to train in Spain or Germany.
"We are trying to bridge the gap. For the first time we have a programme, and hopefully, it will make a difference," said Rajpal.
Also Read : India to host Denmark on grass courts in Delhi
News Source : PTI
India to host Denmark for next Davis Cup tie in March
New Delhi, Dec 6 (Tennis news) India have got their first home Davis Cup tie since February 2019 as they have been pitted against Denmark in World Group I contest, scheduled for March 4-5 next year.
India travelled to Finland (2021), Croatia (2020) and Kazakhstan (2019, Pakistan tie) for their last three ties.
India hosted Italy at home in February 2019 and lost 1-3 in Kolkata.
Even though Denmark has a singles player in Holger Rune (103), who is higher-ranked than all the Indian players, it can still be considered a favourable draw for the hosts.
It will be the first tie between the two nations since September 1984 when India won 3-2 at Aarhus.
The two teams have not clashed much as the only other time they played was in 1927 when Denmark whitewashed India 5-0 in the quarterfinal in Copenhagen.
"Thank God, after many ties, we have got a home match. Previous two ties were tough for us, we played Croatia who made the Davis Cup finals. Then we played Finland and everyone thought Finland was an easy team, which was not the case," India coach Zeeshan Ali told PTI.
"India on paper are supposed to be a strong team but except Ramkumar Ramanathan, who is 190 in the world, we don't have anyone in top-200 in singles. We don't have anyone in top-100 for long.
"We were always underdogs but we always had the players to perform very well in Davis Cup but right now we are struggling, so whoever we are playing it's going to be a challenge," he said.
Zeeshan felt a lot would depend which players will be available for the tie.
"The last time we did not have our number one player with us, then Yuki was down with injury. If we have a full strength team, if Sumit is fit by March and Yuki is also available, we have a very good chance of beating Denmark in India," he said.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran (215) has dropped out of top-200 and Nagal, who recently took a break to undergo hip injury, is now ranked 218.
Ramkumar re-entered top-200 after winning a Challenger recently.
Also Read : Croatia’s Borna Gojo is amongst the best performers at the Davis Cup
news Source : PTI
Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
New Delhi, Aug 6 (Tennis news) Doubles exponent Rohan Bopanna on Friday retained his place in the Indian Davis Cup team despite his recent run-in with the national federation, which named a five-member squad for the upcoming World Group I away tie against Finland.
Expectedly, all top three singles players of the country -- Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ranked 158), Sumit Nagal (159) and Ramkumar Ramanathan (204) -- have been picked for the September 17-18 tie, which will be held on indoor courts in Espoo Metro Areena in Espoo city.
The AITA selection committee had a virtual meeting on Thursday to decide on the team.
Rohit Rajpal will be the non-playing captain of the side and Zeeshan Ali the coach.
Bopnna, ranked 40, will have his doubles partner in Divij Sharan, ranked 82.
The duo could not qualify for the ongoing Tokyo Olympics due to low combined rank.
In the last tie against Croatia which India lost 1-3, Bopanna had paired with Leander Paes. Rest is the same squad.
Bopanna had accused the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) secretary general Anil Dhupar of misleading him and the nation by claiming that the ITF had accepted his and Sumit Nagal's entry for the doubles competition of the Tokyo Games.
Bopanna made public his telephonic conversation with Dhupar, putting the audio recording on his twitter page.
Finland has one higher-ranked singles player in Emil Ruusuvuori, who is placed 69th in the ATP chart, while it does not have a player inside top-100.
Finland also has two decent doubles players in Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliovaara, who are ranked 39 and 38 respectively.
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Selection committee member Balram Singh told PTI that the recent controversy regarding Bopanna was not discussed by the members.
"There are former players in the committee and they know the value of a doubles rubber point in Davis Cup. Rohan, being our top player, was a natural choice," Balram said.
"It was just a matter of misunderstanding that a controversy erupted," he said.
The winner of the tie will qualify for the Qualifiers in 2022 while the losing teams will compete in the play-offs to retain their place in World Group I next year.
News source: PTI
Nagal becomes only third Indian to win a singles match at Olympic with victory over Istomin
Tokyo, Jul 24 (Olympics news) Sumit Nagal on Saturday became only the third Indian tennis player to win a men's singles match at the Olympic Games and the first in 25 years, when he edged past Denis Istomin in a three-setter, here.
Nagal got the better of Istomin 6-4 6-7(6) 6-4 in two hours and 34 minutes on court 10 at the Ariake Tennis Centre to set up a second round clash with world number two Daniil Medvedev.
Zeeshan Ali was the first Indian to win a singles match at the 1988 Seoul Games when he beat Victo Caballero from Paraguay.
After that, the legendary Leander Paes won the historic men's singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games, beating Brazil's Fernando Meligeni.
No Indian could win a singles match after Paes' heroic feat even as Somdev Devvarman and Vishnu Vardhan competed at the 2012 Games in London but did not manage to cross the first round hurdle.
"To lose second set from 5-3 and then comeback in the third set in a weather like this, is not easy. Playing for my country gave me the push. I am not sure what I would have done If I were playing at the Challenger, I came out happy from the court," said Nagal after the match.
"It was really hot and humid, weather was terrible, specially when you play around 12 (noon). So we were trying to focus on our serves, it's challenging and I am trying to adpat from clay to hard courts," he added.
Nagal now faces a herculean task as he takes on Australian Open runner-up Medvedev, who beat Kazakhstan's Alexander Bubilk 6-4 7-6(8).
"I am very excited for this match to play the world number two on a big court. That's why we play tennis for, to live for these moments. I am looking forward to it," he said.
The 23-year-old Nagal, who did not come into the Games in his best form, had a break opportunity in the sixth game of the opening set but could not convert.
Also read : Nagal comes through in three sets against Istomin in Tokyo
The Indian, though, did not squander the opportunity when Istomin was serving to stay in the set.
An early break pushed Nagal ahead 2-0 in the second set in which he raced to a 4-1 lead but perhaps nerves got the better of him when he was serving for the match, up 5-3, and dropped his serve.
The experienced Istomin forced a decider by prevailing in the tie-breaker.
The final set was on serve till Nagal got the decisive break.
News source: PTI