Yuki Bhambri ready for Uzbekistan challenge

Having had mixed results in Bengaluru in the Davis Cup ties against Indonesia and Serbia, Yuki said that he hoped to be at his best against the Uzbeks.

Yuki Bhambri has been in good form this month.   -  THE HINDU

Having done well in the Challenger circuit in China, Yuki Bhambri is ready for the Uzbek challenge in the Davis Cup to be played in Bengaluru from April 7 to 9.

“I think I was unlucky not to make the finals, at least in the first two tournaments. But, my opponents were playing very well, especially Evgeny Donskoy. So, I am happy with the consistency I showed there,’’ said the 24-year-old Yuki, who made two semifinals and lost to the eventual champions, Yuichi Sugita and Donskoy. Evgeny Doskoy, in fact, is the only person to have defeated Roger Federer this year.

Yuki lost the quarterfinals of the third to Maximilian Marterer of Germany, whom he had beaten the previous week. “It was a close match earlier. But he had played a short two setter after all of us had played three sets in the first match of the day. So, I was a bit unlucky,” recalled Yuki.

Yuki was happy that he was one of the top three guys in terms of consistency over three weeks and that the tough matches had prepared him better. He did play doubles with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in the first two tournaments but could not eke out a win despite playing well.

“Sometimes it happens like that, even when both of us play good. I am glad that he won some matches later, when he played with Christopher Rungkat. I didn’t play doubles in the third week because it had become hectic by then, as I was playing almost every day,” said Yuki, suggesting that he may play with Jeevan again in future.

Not surprised about the four-member team announced for the tie against Uzbekistan, in which both the doubles specialists Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes have been nominated as reserves, Yuki said that Mahesh Bhupathi had made it clear that he was looking for a pool of players not just for this tie, but overall.

Not surprised about the four-member team announced for the tie against Uzbekistan, in which both the doubles specialists Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes have been nominated as reserves, Yuki said that Mahesh Bhupathi had made it clear that he was looking for a pool of players not just for this tie, but overall.

“It is good to have the option. I think only a day before the draw, we may get to know the final team. It is fine,” said Yuki.

When pointed out that Bopanna and Paes had not won matches in recent weeks, Yuki was quick to stress that both were playing at the highest level, not in Challengers or Futures, and thus were in the big league and their quality of play was known to everyone.

Even though Yuki had beaten Denis Istomin in the Davis Cup tie in Uzbekistan, and had played tough matches on the Tour as well, he said that the Uzbek was brimming with confidence and was used to playing on all three days in Davis Cup.

“It is very different. Even if I had beaten him last week, it will not be easy. He is a top quality player with a lot of experience and confidence. It is going to be hard playing him, even though we know what to expect, as me and Prajnesh (Gunneswaran) have played him,” said Yuki.

Having had mixed results in Bengaluru in the Davis Cup ties against Indonesia and Serbia, Yuki said that he hoped to be at his best against the Uzbeks. “I like quick courts, but not so much the altitude. Indonesia was good for me, Serbia was not so good,” he recalled.

Yuki said that he would get the mandatory medical fitness test done in Mumbai this week, before flying to Bengaluru for Davis Cup.