Hauling itself up from World Group II should not be a complicated task for India when it takes on an unostentatious Morocco in the home tie, which will be more of a celebration of Rohan Bopanna’s Davis Cup career, which will come to a halt after 21 years on September 17.
The lack of singles players who could challenge the big boys of the ATP circuit, coupled with defeats in winnable matches, has hurt the Indian Davis Cup team badly in the last few years in this team tournament, but relegation to World Group II was a new low the Indian team hit in February.
It was for the first time since the new format was launched in 2019 that the Indians dropped to this level.
Much has changed since India last played in the Davis Cup tie in March, when it lost 2-3 to Denmark.
Indian tennis has hardly had any memorable moments this season until Bopanna reached the US Open final last week.
It’s not just the lack of on-court results in singles; off-court, the country also felt the disappointment of losing its only ATP 250 event.
Yuki Bhambri, one of the finest players India has seen, has stopped playing the singles format. Ramkumar Ramanathan has dropped out of even the top-550 and is languishing at number 570.
Such has been his plight this season that the Chennai player has made 17 first-round exits at different tournaments, including the lowest rung, the ITF Futures level.
It’s not surprising that skipper Rohit Rajpal has not included Ramkumar in the lineup, though he remains a part of the squad to help train the players.
At 43, Bopanna still playing solid tennis
But Bopanna is still playing some solid tennis in the doubles format.
At 43, he remains one of the most powerful servers on the circuit. His strokes still have sting, and he can still pull off those stunning passing winners from difficult angles or while running on flanks.
It would have been ideal if he had got his farewell tie where he wanted — in Bengaluru — but he still has a chance to bid adieu to the Davis Cup before the home fans.
In 32 ties played since making his debut in 2002, the player from Coorg has won 22 matches, including 10 singles.
He will team up with Yuki for one final time in Davis Cup, even as he continues to play on the ATP circuit. Ranked inside the top-10, he has no reasons to hang up his racquet.
The AITA felicitated Bopanna in a special event on Thursday night, where his contribution to Indian tennis was lauded.
Bopanna will have a lot of friends and family members in the stands,…