For the fifth straight time, India will look to try to win the Davis Cup World Group Play-Off tie and be back in the World Group. Pitted against Serbia in Serbia, India is still with a chance. This chance comes as both its top two players, the recently crowned US Open champion Novak Djokovic and World No.33 Filip Krajinovic are not available for the tie.
However, India is also going with a depleted side without the services of its No.1 Singles player, Yuki Bhambri and doubles specialist Divij Sharan.
Let us look at the chances for India in terms of the players who will be playing the rubbers:
1. Ramkumar Ramanathan – The Top ranked player from India in the absence of Yuki Bhambri will have to erase his mind of his recent poor performances on clay and play at his best.
His best performances has come in the form of his runner`s up trophies at he ATP 120 Series Hall of Fame Open and Taipei City Challenger which are played on grass and carpet respectively.
He can take heart from the fact that he has defeated Serbia`s top player for the tie, Dusan Lajovic last year. However, it has to be noted that Lajovic has improved leaps and bounds since then and is the best form of this career.
2. Prajnesh Gunneswaran – When it comes to confidence, Prajnesh Gunneswaran is the player who would be the player who would be feeling better. His recent bronze medal at the Asian Games for the country gives him an added breadth of fresh air.
It is only recently that he won his first Challenger at the Anning Challenger and that too on clay. His victory over the red hot Denis Shapovalov at the Mercedes Cup showed that he can take on the big guys.
3. Doubles – Doubles is one tie where Indians will feel most confident about. Rohan Bopanna along with Sriram Balaji are good enough to pull off the doubles rubber for India. As for Sriram Balaji, he would be feeling quite confident after is recent success at the Wimbledon and breaking inside top 100 in doubles.
Even though Serbia still remains the favorite in this home tie but India are still with a chance to pull off an upset. India will have to put pressure on the other singles player Laslo Djere who does not have much Davis Cup experience. The world no. 83 whose favorite surface is clay but still can be put under pressure because of his lack of experience playing for his country. Doubles is a must win rubber for us and much of the tie will depend on it.
Wishing team India all the very best.