Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) Italy’s non-playing captain Corrado Barazzutti said on Monday there are no underdogs in the Davis Cup and they will not start as favourites against India in the World Group qualifier tie starting here on Friday.
Barazzutti’s counterpart Mahesh Bhupathi had said a few days earlier that India would start as “big underdogs” against higher-ranked Italians who have two players in the top 50 — Marco Cecchinato (18), Andreas Seppi (35) — along with Matteo Berrettini (54), Thomas Fabbiano (102), doubles world number 88 Simone Bolelli.
“We are concentrating hard. We know that every player here (India) is a good player. There is no underdog. We have to play,” Barazzutti, 65, told reporters at the Calcutta South Club after Italy trained on the grass courts for the first time since arriving for about two hours.
“In Davis Cup, ranking is important for the confidence but we have to play. Many times, the rankings is just important for who plays first and who plays second.
“We have to play the match and in the court everything changes. There are players in Davis Cup who play better in tournament. It’s always very difficult to play when you play for your country,” he said.
No one in the Italy squad has played the Davis Cup on grass. Neither has India’s top-ranked player Prajnesh Gunneswaran nor Divij Sharan, who is likely to partner Rohan Bopanna in the doubles.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, India’s second-highest ranked player, has played once, as has Saketh Myneni. At seven rubbers, doubles specialist Bopanna has the maximum experience of grass among both teams.
Asked if the team trained on grass at all before coming here, Barazzutti said: “The players play only in some tournament (in grass) before Wimbledon, maybe one tournament after Wimbledon. So nobody played much on grass. Even the Indian players (haven’t played on grass).”
On the Indian team, Barazzutti said the Zeeshan Ali-coached side have good players and it will be a tough match over two days.
“They are a good team because they have good players and they play at home and on grass. We have to play with focus and bigger respect for this team and players. They are very good. I think it will be a tough match,” said Barazzutti who has seen only Prajnesh play before.
During their practice session under gloomy weather conditions, the Italians were seen in a relaxed mood spending time in playing foot tennis for some time.
“We have to play so nothing to complain. We just practice to play better,” Barazzutti said on the surface.