India ready for Spain challenge: Anand Amritraj

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) India may be the underdogs against mighty Spain in the upcoming Davis Cup World tennis Group Play-off, but the hosts chose to put up a brave face here on Tuesday.

Spain have brought over a star-studded squad which includes 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, World No.13 David Ferrer and the the doubles duo of Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.

The hosts, on the other hand, have a comparatively insipid squad spearheaded by veteran star Leander Paes.

India will field Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the singles and the relatively inexperienced duo are expected to face an uphill battle against Nadal and Ferrer.

To make matters worse, the Indian doubles combination, traditionally the strong point of the hosts, has been weakened by the withdrawal of Rohan Bopanna due to injury.

As a result, Paes is expected to take on the might of the Spanish along with the relatively inexperienced Myneni.

India non-playing captain Anand Amritraj however, asserted that the Indians are unfazed by the magnitude of the challenge confronting them and are determined to battle it out in front of their home crowd.

“Lopez and Lopez are a great team but on a court like this we have a chance. In doubles, our chances are closer to 50-50 than what we have in the singles. In think that we can beat them in the doubles, no question about that,” Amritraj told reporters ahead of their practice session here on Tuesday.

Myneni echoed Amritraj’s sentiments, asserting that he is determined to produce his best form in this tie.

“I think it will be a battle for me playing on Friday. I want to challenge them and push them as much as I can and let me see how it goes on the first day. A lot depends on the first day and then lets see how the second day goes for us.

“I have to see how willing my body and my mind are for the challenge. My mind is wiling, let us see how my body responds,” he added.

Myneni, who suffered cramps and had had to battle through the pain during a Davis Cup clash against South Korea in Chandigarh recently, informed that he is in much better shape physically for this tie.

“I was playing in the US recently. The conditions were humid and difficult. I think it is much hotter here, but it is a challenge and I am determined to fight through it. I am ready to give my best and this challenge will bring out the best from me,” he said.

Amritraj refused to divulge Paes’ partner for the doubles tie, saying that he will take a call once the first round of singles matches is over.

“I am waiting to see how the first round of singles goes. Depending on how long and tough the singles matches are for Saketh and Ramkumar, we will decide at the end of the first day,” he said.

–IANS

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