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Davis Cup: Doubles team yet to be decided; fitness a concern for India

Last updated on: September 13, 2016 22:22 IST

Spain's Rafael Nadal and India's Leander Paes pose for photographs after a practice session in New Delhi on Tuesday

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal and India's Leander Paes pose for photographs before a practice session in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI

Indian captain Anand Amritraj hinted that Saketh Myneni partner Leander Paes for the doubles rubber in the World Group Davis Cup play-off tie and he believes the hosts have a "good chance" of earning a point against the formidable Spain.

Not only India but Spain are also undecided about the doubles combination as the two captains said the pairings would depend on the first day’s proceedings.

"I am waiting to see end of day one. How long and tough is the first match for Saketh. We have three options," Amritraj said at the pre-draw press conference.

Spanish captain Conchita Martinez also said that outcome of the first day will determine who they field on Saturday.

They have French Open champions Mark and Feliciano Lopez and Rio Olympics gold medallists Mark and Rafael Nadal to choose from.

India's Leander Paes, Saketh Myneni, and captain Anand Amritraj (right) along with SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh speak at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday ahead of the Davis Cup tie against Spain

IMAGE: India's Leander Paes, Saketh Myneni, and captain Anand Amritraj (right) along with SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh speak at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday ahead of the Davis Cup tie against Spain. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI

Contradicting his earlier statabout the scheduling of the matches, Amritraj said he feels playing in the evening is a good option as he would need Saketh to play on two days in absence of Rohan Bopanna.

"I changed my mind. Now we don't have Rohan anymore. Saketh has to be ready for two matches. If we had played in the morning, would have been tougher. In hindsight, looks like a good option," he said as the packed press conference burst into laughter.

The 64-year-old, though, said there are fitness concerns in the Indian camp.

"I am still worried about fitness issues. Just because sun is not beating down at 5pm, it does not mean it is not humid. It's still tough, even for the Spanish guys as well. In the morning, they looked like half dead, Feliciano Lopez I am talking about. In our case, our guy has to be in good shape to give it a best shot," he said. 

India's tennis stars Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni during a press conference on Tuesday

IMAGE: India's tennis stars Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni during a press conference on Tuesday. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI

Even though Paes does not have a solid partner, the Indian captain was optimistic of taking a point.

"Doubles has always been our strength. That is still our best shot to win a match. Lopez and Lopez were seeded 8th at US Open. On a court like this we have a chance. It's closer to 50-50 and than singles. Definitely have a chance no questions about that," he said.

Myneni vowed to give his best.

"Mind is ready but I have to see if body permits. I have to challenge myself. Playing five sets is not easy. Still fight through it and bring out the best in me," Myneni, ranked 137 now, said.

"Team atmosphere keeps me going. It's a big boost. Few weeks (in Davis Cup) I get to learn different things from different people."

Paes ruled out playing singles in near future even as his father had said that Leander was targetting the record of most singles wins in Davis Cup.

"At this stage of my career, to find new goals. Right now not looking at these places. If captain wants to throw me in a dead rubber I would love to," he said.

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