With all the focus on the big guns, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, India’s other two important players of the tie — Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni — are quietly sweating it out ahead of their big Davis Cup matches.
India coach Zeeshan Ali says it is only good for the two players that they have not been crowded or peppered questions ahead of their first ever live Davis Cup matches.For obvious reasons, Bopanna and Paes are being chased by the media after they were forcibly teamed up for the RioOlympicGames.Ramanathan is set to make his Davis Cup debut and Myneni, even though has the experience of playing for the country, a live rubber takes a lot out of the player.”The good thing is that all the focus is on Leander and Rohan. I think it has worked well for these people. The attention has been diverted and that is probably a good thing,” Zeeshan told PTI.”Having people around can put you under pressure. Preparations are good. Mentally, they are in good place. With the help of all of us, the senior members of the side, they have guidance at every step.”After Myneni’s training with Vishnu Vardhan, Ramkumar too had an intense session even as rain prevented practice on grass courts on Thursday.India’s non-playing captain Anand Amritraj made it clear that Ramanathan and Myneni are the players who matter in this tie even as the senior players are hogging all the limelight.In my opinion, the singles is important. We have four matches. The doubles is not going to win us the tie. They (Myneni and Ramanathan) have been left alone, no one is paying attention to them. If we lose one match tomorrow then doubles comes into play. Doubles I am taking it as given. It’s a done deal,” he said.Asked about the pressure of playing live rubber and lack of attention, Myneni, who is a man of few words, said he is only focused on the job at hand.”We are training for our matches and preparing for it. We all have to do well to make sure we get the win,” was Myneni’s terse reply.”I think it will be a battle to the finish and my preparation in the last couple of weeks will bring the best out of me.”Ramanathan says he is a bit nervous but has full faith in his abilities as well in the guidance he is getting from the team.”I am playing for India and it’s a dream come true, playing alongside Leander (Paes) and Rohan (Bopanna). I have been in the team so I know how it works but there is always pressure but I will try to win it for the team. I want to play some aggressive tennis,” the 21-year-old said.Coach Zeeshan says, now is the time for both the junior players of the side to show their worth.”Davis Cup is different. Playing a live match is always an experience. It’s a great opportunity for these guys. We have relied so much on Somdev and Yuki. They have done well for us but now it’s turn of Ram (Ramanathan) and Saketh (Myneni) to pull it off.”There is always pressure, no matter how much you convince but these boys are handling it quite well.”The coach also said that no one should make the mistake of taking the Koreans light despite their low rankings.”Look they may be ranked outside but you need to know why. They spend good amount of time with their Army and as a result do not play much in Tour. That’s why that ranking. The quality of their game is high. It’s never easy against the Koreans,” Zeeshan said.Captain Amrittraj is more worried about the lack of experience of the singles players.”Ours is a brand new team. They have never played five sets, never played live rubber. They are complete novices, that’s my concern. It’s huge for them.”
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