Davis Cup: India to host Korea on grass

India is due to play the Asia-Oceania Group I second round tie against Korea from July 15-17 on the grass courts of Chandigarh club. The last time India hosted a Davis Cup tie on grass courts was against Japan in New Delhi in 2008.

Yuki Bhambri is India's highest ranked singles player.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Since the Korean players are formidable hard court players and India’s best hard court player Somdev Devvarman is struggling badly these days, India will host its next Davis Cup tie on grass courts, chairman of selectors S. P. Misra said today.

India is due to play the Asia-Oceania Group I second round tie against Korea from July 15-17 on the grass courts of Chandigarh club.

The last time India hosted a Davis Cup tie on grass courts was against Japan in New Delhi in 2008. India had won that tie 3-2 and current world number six Kei Nishikori was part of the visiting team.

With the advent of Somdev, Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni, India preferred hard courts to host Davis Cup ties in the past few years.

“Their number one player Hyeon Chung was top-50 last year. He is a very good player on hard courts. We have depended on Somdev in Davis Cups but his ranking has dipped. Yuki, Ramkumar can play good serve and volley, so grass was the best option for us to host this tie,” Misra said.

“And our doubles team can also play well on grass courts. So we have an advantage playing on grass.”

India had lost to Czech Republic 1-3 in the World Group play-off. In the Asia/Oceania Group I, it got a bye in the first round while Korea beat New Zealand 3-1 to make it to the second round.

Yuki Bhambri, who is recuperating from an elbow injury, is India’s best ranked singles player at 122 and is followed by Myneni (138) and Ramkumar Ramanathan (239).

Somdev is languishing at 314 and if rankings made the criteria for selection, he will certainly miss playing against Korea. Misra said it will be important for Somdev to improve his ranking to be selected in the team.

“He has played fabulous and great matches for India in the Davis Cup. There is still some time for the tie and he can improve his ranking,” Misra said.

Rohan Bopanna, world number 11 in doubles, is expected to play alongside Myneni.

Chung is best singles player for Korea at 82. He was ranked 51 last year in October. After him, the next best for Korea are Duckhee Lee (231) and Cheong-Eui Kim (396).

Misra said Kolkata’s South Club was also discussed as a possible venue but fears of monsoon rains disrupting the matches in July ruled it out.

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