Davis Cup: Rift in Indian team is advantage for Japan

April 9th, 2008 - 5:32 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The rift in the Indian team will work to the advantage of Japan as the hosts will be low on morale for the crucial Davis Cup tie starting Friday. Japan’s non-playing captain Eiji Takeuchi said Wednesday that India have experience and the advantage of playing at home but the recent controversy in the team might take a toll on their game.

“We know that the Indian team is bit low after the controversy and that might work for us. They have experienced players and we will have to concentrate on our game to beat them,” Takeuchi told IANS after the practice session.

“Rohan Bopanna and Prakash (Amritraj) have done well recently. India have some good results in Davis Cup and they have experience of playing on grass. We do not play that much in grass courts and that will be a challenge for us,” he said.

Three Indian players - Mahesh Bhupathi, Bopanna and Amritraj - refused to play under Leander Paes’ captaincy after the tie against Uzbekistan in February listing a number of grievances against India’s most successful Davis Cupper.

The matter was brushed under the carpet as All India Tennis Association (AITA) asked the players to stick together till the Japan tie.

Takeuchi also said they underwent some special preparation at home to get used to the Delhi weather.

“The heat is a problem for us. We practised with heaters on for a few days before coming to India. We are practising here for three days and the team is shaping up nicely and feeling much better,” he said.

“Takeo Suzuki plays well in grass courts. Go Soeda played in the Olympic qualifiers and got a great experience there. Nishikuri is a sort of player who can adjust to different conditions quickly,” Takeuchi said about his players.

Both the Japanese and Indian team practised in the morning. Bhupathi joined the team Wednesday and practised with Paes.

The two stalwarts of Indian tennis have had their differences in the past and the recent controversy has only added fuel to the fire. It is no secret that Bhuapathi was the driving force and led the rebellion against Paes. But the duo playing together comes as a relief for the Indian tennis fans.

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