Leander Paes has been named in India’s six-member Davis Cup team that will will face Croatia in their World Group Qualifiers on March 6 and 7.
Alongside Paes, fellow doubles veteran Rohan Bopanna has also been included for the crucial tie with Divij Sharan named as the third doubles player, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) announced on Thursday.
Both Bopanna (injury) and Sharan (personal engagement) weren’t part of India’s squad that played against Pakistan in Nur Sultan. With their return, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan hasn’t been included.
India’s top-ranked men singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Rajkumar Ramanathan will lead the singles challenge. Rohit Rajpal has been announced as the non-playing captain with Zeeshan Ali continuing as the coach.
“I have been informed that I will continue as captain for the 2020 season. I feel honoured that AITA has reposed faith in me,” Rajpal said. “I am happy with the way we came together for Pakistan tie under difficult circumstances. We came together as one fighting machine. I am looking forward to working closely with the players for achieving greater heights.”
Croatia won the title in 2018 and Rajpal admitted it’s going to be a tough contest. “I know they are 2018 winners. This is a tough tie, they have home advantage but we can soak all the pressure and still beat any top team,” he said.
Paes has already announced he will retire at the end of 2020, thus bringing an end to his 30-year-long storied professional career.
The 46-year-old, meanwhile, will play in the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger. “Playing at home in front of my fellow Indians has always been a source of immense pleasure and motivation for me. Bengaluru has always had a crowd that understands tennis and the vibe of the stadium and the energy of the city really invigorate me,” said Paes.
He added, “To my Bengaluru friends, fans and tennis lovers, I am looking forward to entertaining all of you One Last Roar time. See you guys soon,” said Paes who last played in Bengaluru in the Davis Cup 2014 where he partnered with Rohan Bopanna to pull off an an unlikely win in the doubles event against Serbia.
The USD 162,000 event will gets underway from February 10.
“We are glad and excited that the Indian Tennis legend Leander Paes’ last match on Indian soil will be at the KSLTA court. His celebrated career and achievements have been a guiding light for the upcoming tennis talents, not only in the country but beyond too. This a big moment for both Bengaluru Tennis Open 2020 and KSLTA,” said the tournament’s organising committee chairman Priyank Kharge.