Bengaluru: Uzbekistan suffered a big blow ahead of their Davis Cup tie against India as Denis Istomin pulled out of the tie citing injury on Tuesday. The World No. 71 did not travel with the rest of the squad to Bengaluru on Sunday, opting to look into a foot injury. He will be out for two weeks.
“Istomin was initially supposed to come on Saturday but when he said he would stay back for tests on his foot, I had a feeling he would not turn up at all. I had a back-up plan in place. Now, with two days left, it gives me enough time to work on who plays singles and doubles,” said Uzbekistan captain Petr Lebed.
With their trump card out, the onus falls on the shoulders of senior player Farrukh Dustov. The 30-year-old has been a mainstay in the team, along with Istomin, often playing on all three days.
While the team has been bolstered with the arrival of youngsters such as Temur Ismailov (rank 406), Sanjar Fayziev (rank 376), neither have much experience playing the tournament, much less on more than one day during a tie.
“I’ve been playing since 2005. I’m used to it now having played for 10 years. Of course to play singles, then doubles and then play again on the third day, it’s not easy. The decision will be up to the captain but I’m ready to play,” Dutov remarked adding that he is fully recovered from the hand injury that has kept him out of competition for six months.
“We’ve four options. They’re all different players and I’ll decide later who to play. Both are young team. It’s like a 50-50 game and after the first day, we will see how it goes,” Lebed piled on about the team’s make up....