Chennai: India coach Zeeshan Ali said on Wednesday that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie against Chinese Taipei would be a tough contest for his team.
“We beat Chinese Taipei at home in 2009 but that was very close. Of late they have had very good players in their team and they are doing well. It will not be a cakewalk for us. A lot will depend on how the first day’s play goes,” Zeeshan told this paper from Indore, where the tie will be held from January 31 to February 2 .
Zeeshan, who succeeded S.P. Mishra in 2013, is into his third stint with the national team. “There is no surprise element in the teams as we know their players and they know our players well,” he added. Both teams arrived in Indore a week before the event to acclimatise to the climate and courts.
“The preparations are going very well. The courts are also the way we wanted and the arrangements here are of top class. Overall we can say the boys are in good spirits and excited and looking forward to the tie.
“The best part is that everybody has been here from last Sunday. So they get time to gel well. It will really make difference when whole team come together in advance,” said the 44-year-old Olympian. In the absence of doubles specialists Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, Zeeshan was happy with the inclusion of Rohan Bopanna.
He also made it clear that Somdev Devvarman will play the first singles rubber while Yuki Bhambri will feature in the second. For the doubles, Bopanna and debutant Saketh Myneni will be the best choice.
Zeeshan was all praise for Yuki’s performance over the past few months. “Bopanna is the one who I am coaching for the first time and having him back in the team is great news. It is a young team and everybody is eager to do well.”
On Somdev’s recent run at the Chennai Open and Australian Open, the former Davis Cupper said, “I don’t think that Som is not doing as well as expected. The thing that happened to him in Chennai can happen to anybody.
He lost to qualifier Ramkumar (Ramnathan). In the Australian Open he played the seventh seed in the first round and it was again a tough draw for him.
“But here he is very confident. I think you cannot judge his form based on these two matches. The Davis Cup is a team event and it is very different from playing as an individual. The best part is we have home crowd behind us. That will play a major factor as .”...