Zeeshan expects high-quality tennis


Zeeshan said Indian players are expected to do well in the World Group Play-off tie, starting September 15 in Edmonton. “Playing indoors is something our players like, especially Yuki (Bhambri). He played top class tennis the last time we played indoors against New Zealand. I don’t really see any disadvantages for us but then it also doesn’t give us any advantage over them,” Zeeshan told PTI from Edmonton.

“The conditions are perfect playing on indoor courts as there is no outside elements to worry about like wind and sun. The quality of tennis automatically goes up by about 20 percent,” he said.

Both Zeeshan and former captain SP Misra are of the view that India stand a better chance to make the World Group when compared to last three years when the team had to face formidable opponents like Serbia, Czech Republic and Spain. The biggest threat from Canada is the rising star and world number 51 Denis Shapovalov apart from leading doubles exponent Daniel Nestor. World number 11 Milos Raonic is missing from the line up of the hosts due to a wrist injury, which also forced him to skip the US Open.

“Denis Shapovalov is having a great post Wimbledon season and is in form. It won’t be an easy tie but the chances are the best we have had in four years,” Zeeshan said. Misra, who was shunted out from the job following a players revolt led by Somdev Devvarman, is amused that after his stint as captain, the team has not managed to cross the Play-off hurdle even once.

“I took the team to World Group twice (2010 vs Russia and 2011 vs Serbia) but still it was alleged that I was not up to the mark. Now it’s time that someone else takes the team to World Group,” Misra said. On the insistence of the players, the AITA had made changes in playing conditions and changed support staff, installing Anand Amritraj in place of Misra. Under Amritraj, Indian team thrice reached the Play-off stage after dominating the Asian region, but AITA early this year replaced Amritraj with Mahesh Bhupathi.

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