Sumit Nagal pulls out of India's Davis Cup tie, Myneni named replacement

Nagal, who had lost in the first round of the US Open Qualifiers, communicated to the AITA that doctors have advised him not to play on the hard courts.

Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal has withdrawn from the country's upcoming away Davis Cup tie against Finland citing a hip injury.   -  PTI

Sumit Nagal has withdrawn from India's away tie against Finland in the Davis Cup, citing a hip injury. He has been replaced by Saketh Myneni in the five-man squad for the indoor contest on September 18-19.

On Saturday, Nagal communicated to the national tennis federation All India Tennis Association (AITA) that doctors advised him not to play on the hard courts.

Non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal and chairman of the selection committee, Nandan Bal, agreed to name Myneni as a replacement. He last played for India in 2018 in the World Group Play-off tie against Serbia.

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"Sumit Nagal has written to us that he can't play this Davis Cup tie due to a hip injury he sustained after the US Open qualifiers. Myneni can play both singles and doubles, so he has been added to the squad," said AITA Secretary-General Anil Dhupar. 

Myneni has played six Davis Cup ties for India in eight nominations. He was part of the Indian squad that beat Pakistan in Kazakhstan in 2019 but did not get to play any match.

"I did not get to play tournaments since April. I could not get a visa to play in the USA also. But I have been training and playing practice matches all these months. It's good to be back in the team," said Myneni. "I just have to be ready for my chance. I have done it in the past. I will help the team prepare well. Overall, I feel good about my game, but the match sharpness may not be at the same level." 

Nandan Bal said Myneni was the best option. "Saketh was the unanimous choice to replace Sumit under the circumstances when matches are going to be on fast hard courts. He has been around for a long time and knows what it takes to perform at that level. You can use him for both singles and doubles matches. He is a good team man," Bal said.

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Myneni is ranked 577, and two Indian players -- Sasikumar Mukund (321) and Siddarth Rawat (555) -- are ranked above him but made the cut.

Mukund had not made himself available for national selection before the Davis Cup team was announced, saying he had committed himself to play the European circuit.

Rawat is placed higher, but Myneni was preferred because the tall Andhra Pradesh player can play both formats if the need arises, and he already possesses a Schengen visa.

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Procuring a visa could have been difficult for Rawat. The team is set to leave for Finland on September 8.

Myneni joins Prajnesh Gunneswaran (156), Ramkumar Ramanathan (204), Rohan Bopanna (46 in doubles) and Divij Sharan (83 in doubles) in the team that will take on the host on indoor hard courts.

The winner will make it to the Qualifiers while the loser will fight in the World Group I Play-offs in the 2022 season.

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