Saketh Myneni looks to cap the good hard court season

Indian team began its training session for the upcoming Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie against Spain under floodlights, in New Delhi on Sunday. Saketh Myneni said that he was ready to put his body to full test and was willing to play on all three days, if required.

Saketh Myneni Davis Cup, India v Spain, practice

Not worried about playing under the lights, Saketh said that playing at home was the key and that the team had to find a way to perform at its best.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

The Indian Davis Cup team got down to work and had a good session under the floodlights on Sunday evening.

The team’s spearhead Saketh Myneni said that he was ready to put his body to full test and was willing to play on all three days, if required.

With trainer Anand Dubey checking out Saketh’s much-taped serving shoulder with a few tests, there was concern, but the 28-year-old said that he was fine.

‘’Am looking forward to the tie as Spain is a great team. It is a tough challenge. Hopefully, we can come out strong and play consistently good tennis’’, said the 143rd ranked Saketh, who had qualified for the US Open and played a good first round, said.

He had a good work out with Ramkumar Ramanathan, the second singles player.

Saketh said that he was not surprised about Spain fielding such a strong team, with three players in the top-20 and the fourth player, Marc Lopez, no pushover either as he had won the Rio Olympics gold with Rafael Nadal.

‘’Spain is always like that. Nadal has always been part of the team. Feliciano Lopez was enquiring about the flight and distance to Delhi at the US Open. I knew he was coming," said Saketh.

Not worried about playing under the lights, Saketh said that playing at home was the key and that the team had to find a way to perform at its best.

‘’I am ready for singles, doubles. If my body permits me, I am ready to play on all three days. That is my job. I will do that,’’ said Saketh.

Making a conscious decision to skip the Shanghai Challenger, Saketh confessed that it was important to be sharp for the tie, as Davis Cup took a lot out of a player, emotionally, physically and mentally.

‘’If I had not had a good US Open, I may have played the Challenger. But, I prefer to come fresh. There were so many factors. The preparation was the key," said Saketh.

Quite pleased with his overall good work, playing back to back matches against quality players at the US Open, Saketh said that he was happy to be able to walk back even though he suffered a bout of cramps in the first round against Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, when he missed a matchpoint in the fifth set.

Saketh conceded that it was tough to have grass for the tie owing to monsoon, even though he had hoped for it. Anyway, playing Nadal would be a great opportunity to find his best game. ‘’It will be a big challenge. Need to be mentally and physically strong. Not change anything. You will play your style, and hopefully maintain a certain consistency. Can’t let your game go up and down. Need to manage your serve well’’, said Saketh, about competing against the 14-time Grand Slam champion who has Olympic gold medals, in both singles and doubles.

While captain Anand Amritraj started the training session, after the team assembled in the afternoon, coach Zeeshan Ali managed the session, ensuring that the players got everything that they required in terms of preparation.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the reserve player, fresh from his title triumph in the ITF men’s Futures in Chennai, was allowed to rest, even though he was at the court, on the sidelines.

The team will resume its training on the morrow, when the Spanish team is scheduled to land in the Capital.

The venue is expected to come alive when the Spaniards get to the courts for training on Monday.