Bopanna’s knee injury is a cause for concern, says team doctor

April 7th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) India’s Davis Cup team management was worried Monday about Rohan Bopanna’s fitness, the team doctor Vece Paes saying his knee injury is a indeed matter of concern ahead of the crucial tie against Japan starting here Friday. An inflamed knee last week forced Bopanna to pull out of the ITF Men’s Futures tennis tournament final in Chandigarh. Although he termed his pull-out as a precautionary measure and said that he would be fit for the tie, the injury appears to be not all that simple as he thought.

If the gangling Banglorean doesn’t regain his full fitness before Friday, it will be a setback as he had played a major role in India’s victory over Uzbekistan in February, playing in both the singles and doubles in the absence of injured captain Leander Paes.

“Rohan is suffering from a niggle in his knee and it is worrying us,” Dr. Paes told reporters at the team’s practice session here at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) courts.

“He is playing very well for the last six months. I am sure we will be able to treat him before the tie,” he added.

Asked how much time Bopanna would need to get match fit, he said: “It is difficult to say right now as he joined the team today. We have to assess him and from here we will take it day by day.

“Our job right now is to nurse him and make sure that he is fit to play as he is our number one player.”

He also said that tempo of the practice sessions would pick up once the two stars of Indian tennis Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi join the squad. The duo is expected to arrive here this evening and take the courts Tuesday morning.

Bopanna along with two other team-mates Prakash Amritraj and Harsh Mankad had a good practice session in the morning, coach Nandan Bal putting them through the drill. Bopanna, however, had a light work out.

“Considering Bopanna’s injury we didn’t ask him to serve and play practice matches. It’s a niggle all right, but it’s irritating him and will be there at the back of his mind when he takes the court,” said Bal.

Bopanna and Amritraj, who along with Bhupathi, refused to play under Leander in Davis Cup and demanded his removal from the post during the last tie against Uzbekistan, avoided talking on the subject, saying: “We will talk to you guys when the entire team is here.”

However, Dr. Paes, Leander’s father, spoke his mind out on the rift in the team.

“It (players’ revolt against Leander) shook everyone up. Although the issue still alive, everybody is mature enough and they know that their main focus at present is to win the Japan tie,’ he said.

Asked whether the unseemly chapter will have an impact on the players’ performance in the upcoming tie, he said: “It won’t effect Leander and Mahesh for sure as they are professionals, but I can’t say about Rohan and Prakash. Let’s hope they also remain unaffected.”

“The atmosphere in the team is pretty relaxed and if the players respond to the task ahead, there will be no problem,” he added.

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