India’s forthcoming Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie will be played on a relaid hardcourt surface next month under floodlights.
Balewadi sports complex, near Pune, will host the match from February 3-5, 2017 at MSLTA School of Tennis, which will be organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association. Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, is the chief patron.
Leander Paes will establish a record for the most Davis Cup appearances. He is part of a four-member squad named by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to take on the Kiwis. Both teams will play first practise matches on February 1, followed by the draw on February 2, according to Sunder Iyer, the MSLTA secretary and tournament director.
Nitin Kareer, organising committee chairman, informed about the decision to re-lay the Balewadi tennis courts for the Davies Cup tie. MSLTA President Bharat Oza confirmed that matches will be played under floodlights. Public convenience was the reason for scheduling games at night.
Maharashtra is hosting a Davis Cup tie after 10 years.
Anand Amritraj is India’s non-playing captain and Zeeshan Ali is the coach of a four-member squad. Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan are the other three players.
“Evening matches is the only way to attract fans. The weather in Pune next month will be cool and helpful for players,” said MSLTA secretary.
He added: “The AITA, India non-playing captain and coach were informed about the decision to host evening matches. Attendance is free for the public, who need to arrange entry tickets through a website for logistical purposes."
Asked about the choice of surface, organising secretary Prashant Sutar, said: “The choice of court surfaces is with the host nation. It will be played on hard court.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will be the guest of honour for the doubles match at Balewadi and will present a memento to Paes. India versus Pakistan on grass court at the Brabourne stadium in 2000 was the last time MSLTA hosted the Davis Cup. Paes was an outstanding performer in that Asia/Oceania play-off encounter. Pune hosted a Davis Cup tie in 1974 at the Deccan Gymkhana.
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is supporting the event and will showcase state tourism at the Davis Cup, informed managing director K. H. Govinda Raj. Others supporting the tournament are the Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
“Special public and private buses will be arranged for fans to travel,” said the organising secretary Sutar.
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