Kolkata, Jan 31 (IANS) Indian tennis great Naresh Kumar on Thursday expressed satisfaction on seeing the Indian team “happy” and together without any “infighting” as they get ready to take on former champions Italy in their Davis Cup World Group Qualifier from Friday.
“All I want to say is that I’m very happy that the team is together, that’s more important than playing well. That’s the only way to win. Get together and no more fights,” Naresh Kumar told reporters in his address to the Indian team at the official draw ceremony.
The Indian team has always been beset by controversy whenever Leander Paes has been included in the team. Paes, the most successful doubles player in Davis Cup history, has been ignored since he played a key role in India’s coming-from-behind 3-2 win over China in April last year.
India lost to Serbia 4-0 thereafter in the World Group Play-Off.
“Earlier the fighting would continue like a TV soap-opera. It’s good that team looks happy now, that’s the perfect sign.”
He also hailed Bhupathi’s leadership and added: “You have a good leader (in Bhupathi), he’s got good experience. You guys have talent. You guys have to really go for it this time and I’m wishing you all the best.”
He further said it would be a 50-50 affair and kept the Italians marginally ahead.
“This tie is a 50-50 tie because India are playing on grass. Italians are marginally ahead because of their rankings.”
With Ramkumar Ramanathan playing the first rubber against their seniormost player Andreas Seppi (world number 37), Naresh Kumar urged him to give a positive start.
“The first tie is always crucial. It’s about getting off to a winning start. The big serving Ramkumar has got the experience,” he said about Ramkumar who made the final of the Newport ATP.