Players with ego will work well: Paes

April 9th, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) India’s Davis Cup captain Leander Paes Wednesday coined a new line to lift the morale of his divided team, preparing to take on Japan in the Davis Cup tie, saying players with a bit of an ego would do well. Referring to the disharmony in the squad over his captaincy, Paes for the first time stated that he was prepared to step down if the All India Tennis Association asks him to go. At the same time he put up a brave front and said that when it came to playing his team-mates thought and played as a unit.

“We play as a team and I have a lot of faith in my boys. There are ups and downs with every team, but the strong point of this team is that we handle them together. I have always believed this is the team which can get into the World Group,” Paes said told reporters Wednesday.

India’s most successful Davis Cupper, Paes faces the toughest task of his career as he prepares to bind a team that revolted against him after the Uzbekistan tie in February and refused to play under him.

“A team with a little ego is good. As an athlete one should have ego and should take pride in performance. Playing for the country is the important thing. We are prepared to face Japan,” Paes said.

Asked if he has learnt anything from the happenings during the Uzbek tie, Paes philosophically said: “We all evolve as humans and as long as the requirements are consistent there are no problems.”

Mahesh Bhupathi, who lead the rebellion against Paes, also said their focus is to see the team in the World Group of the Davis Cup.

“We knew a month ahead that we will be playing together and that is long enough to prepare yourself mentally. As Leander said, all our effort will be to see that India makes it to the next level,” Bhupathi said.

Prakash Amritraj, who was the focal point of the revolt against Paes, also echoed the same sentiments.

“You cannot change the past. The best thing is to move forward and take the next step. I came to Delhi with the aim of playing for the country.”

Amidst the squabbles, one positive point is that Paes and Bhupathi will be playing in doubles in a Davis Cup tie after quite some time. The duo practised together for about two hours.

“Mahesh and I had a couple of hours of practise and we will play the doubles,” Paes said.

Paes though is concerned about Rohan Bopanna’s sore left knee.

Bopanna, who did not practise today, said he had rested for the day to regain full fitness.

“The more rest I get, the better it will be for me and that is why I missed the practise today, spending time with my trainer,” Bopanna said.

Paes hinted at playing in the singles, but said that would require a lot of effort on his part since he had not played singles for a long time.

“In the past I have stepped in to play the fifth match with the consensus of the team and after discussing at the team meetings. Playing singles on grass is not a worry, but it is the mental and physical ability to play five sets is what I need to look at,” Paes said.

“Japan is a tough team and they are getting better. Their players are in good shape. The last time we played we lost 3-2 and we will have to give our best,” he said.

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