'I feel once the level declines past a point, every tennis player is capable of playing good doubles as long as he's pointed in the right direction. So, that's the reason we are still uncertain on who's playing doubles on April 8.'
India's Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi refused to reveal the doubles combination for the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan, asserting that focus should be on winning all the matches instead of obsessing over one.
India will take on Uzbekistan in an Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 tie in Bengaluru this weekend.
"The focus needs to be on how we are going to win three points. Davis Cup is all about winning three points, not one point. There is a lot of talk about doubles which has been going on for weeks and it will probably go on for the next 48 hours," Bhupathi said in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
"Our focus is to go out there and win three points," he added.
India's doubles combination for the tie has been a subject of speculation ever since Bhupathi picked four specialist singles players for the tie.
His decision to keep Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna in the reserves raised quite a few eyebrows but one of the two is certain to make the squad after Yuki Bhambri pulled out because of an injury.
Bhupathi rejected suggestions that his and Paes' 22 doubles victories in a row together in Davis Cup is a testimony to the fact that doubles is India's strong point.
"I don't know if the results are doubles-related. We have always fielded what we thought was our best pair. You win some and you lose some. We (Paes and Bhupathi) won 22 in a row so it doesn't mean the legacy is going to continue," he said.
Asked about top teams focusing on singles more than doubles, Bhupathi said this is because of the declining specialist doubles players.
"Obviously when you are playing at the highest level of doubles it's in the interest of the country to field the best possible team," he said.
"I feel once the level declines past a point, every tennis player is capable of playing good doubles as long as he's pointed in the right direction. So, that's the reason we are still uncertain on who's playing doubles on April 8," he said.
As per a proposed change of format in the Davis Cup, the competition could be truncated to two days instead of the current practice of three-day rubbers.
Bhupathi said such a change would be difficult to come through given that organisers will find it tough to fit doubles in a two-day format.
"Doubles has always been a pivotal point in the Davis Cup's legacy. So, if it's two days, how are you going to fit doubles in? Are you cutting it down to two days so that the top players play doubles? I don't know the reason so I can't comment," he said.
Asked about Rohan Bopanna's absence from the press conference, Bhupathi said, "Because they told us it was a press conference for the Indian team. He is officially not in the team yet. He is a reserve.
Image: Leander Paes, left, with Mahesh Bhupathi.
Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images