Paes relieved after first day wins in Davis Cup

April 11th, 2008 - 11:21 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) India’s Davis Cup team has been through a roller-coaster ride courting several controversies recently, and after its Davis Cup campaign against Japan started on a thumping note Friday, skipper Leander Paes was a relieved man. Paes was all praise for Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna — the duo who refused to accept him as the leader for the tie– after they clinched marathon five-setters to hand India 2-0 lead on the first day.

“Both Rohan and Prakash played like high-ranked players today. They persevered and fought a hard five-setter. When the chips were down, they came back. Prakash fought back from two sets down. I would like to congratulate them, they did excellent work today,” a jubilant Paes said at the post-match conference.

Amritraj, who pulled off a thrilling 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 win against Go Soeda said he just hung there and waited for his chances. Amritraj came back after losing the first two sets and saved two match points in the match that lasted nearly four hours.

“I kept talking to myself and backed myself. I felt that if I can pull this game, then it would be fantastic. You don’t face such situations everyday. Soeda played a great game. The fifth set saw a high quality tennis,” Amritraj said.

Bopanna who opened the account for India beating Japanese top-seed Kei Nishikoru 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, admitted that it was a great feeling to come out unscathed from the tough five-setter.

“I had lost the second and the fourth sets before coming to decider. But I held my game together and stayed there. It feels great to win such matches,” Bopanna said.

Bopanna, who was under pressure as he played the match despite nursing tendonitis, said his knee is in a fine condition.

“My knee feels good. I have been icing it and it has almost recovered. It did not trouble me much except when stretched a bit.”

The 27-year-old was also full of praise for his teenage opponent Nishikori who made his Davis Cup debut with this tie.

“Nishikori played amazingly well. It didn’t look that he was playing on the grass for the first time,” he said.

Japanese captain Eiji Takeuchi said it was their inexperience of playing on the grass courts that got the better of them.

“The surface was a little bit uncomfortable. We have grown up playing on hard court. Here our players felt like fish without water. Our players lacked confidence.”

Asked whether Japanese team can make a comeback from here, Takeuchi said “It is tough to answer. But we still have a chance.

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