We're looking forward to the Davis Cup tie against Italy, says Prajnesh

Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the highest ranked Indian in the squad, feels the Indians can cause an upset against Italy if the players can bring their 'A' game to the court.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran (R) and Divij Sharan attend a training session at Calcutta South Club on Tuesday.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

The young Indian team is not willing to look at its unseeded status when it faces fourth seeded Italy in the upcoming Davis Cup World Group qualifier tie here at the historic Calcutta South Club lawns.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the highest ranked Indian in the squad, feels the Indians can cause an upset if his compatriots produce their best tennis.

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“Our players really, really need to go out there and play their ‘A’ game to have a chance of upsetting a strong team like Italy. Every match is going to be very tough for us, regardless of who is playing for them. It does not matter whether it is on grass, clay or hard...it was always going to be a difficult for us,” Prajnesh said after the Indians had their second day’s practice session at the venue.

Indians doubles pairing Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan prepare ahead of the Davis Cup tie against Italy.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Talking about his form and the team’s preparation, Prajnesh said the boys have had enough practice on grass and are raring to go. “I am playing good and we had enough time to practice on grass. We are all looking forward to the tie,” he said.

The Indian team will look back at the 3-2 win against the Italins for inspiration. The combination of Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan had led India to the win at the same venue 34 years ago in 1985.

Prajnesh, who achieved his career-best ranking of 102 on Monday, said injuries restricted his progress for a long time but is now finding his rhythm. “I may be called a late bloomer but the fact is that I was injured for some time and I wasn't too bad before that as well. I think it was unfortunate that I could not get to this level earlier,” he said. The 29-year-old southpaw added that he will play a series of Challenger tournaments after the Davis Cup tie.

Italy's Thomas Fabbiano in action during a training session on Tuesday.   -  Debasish Bhaduri


Indian coach Zeeshan Ali said he found the practice courts at the venue on the slower side but added that the pace of the court does not count much if the players adjust to it well.

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“The whole idea is not so much about the fast or slow courts are. It is more about how the boys settle in, in terms of movement, in terms of the mental approach. It is completely different playing on grass than it is on hard court and clay,” Zeeshan, a former National grasscourt champion, said.

“We would not know what the actual match court is going to play like till we actually hit on that,” he added. The teams will get an hour each to practice on the match courts from Wednesday.

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