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It’s dwarfs vs giants

It’s dwarfs vs giants
Highlights

Indeed, when India hosts Spain for a Davis Cup World Group play-off tie at the DLTA courts in New Delhi, the most avid Indian tennis fan will not be bothered about the progress of the event that gets underway on Friday evening. He would be enamoured, seeing in flesh and blood the likes of 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. 

It has been billed as a David vs Goliath contest even before the first serve. However, as things stand, one wonders if the verdict will come anywhere close to the magical outcome delivered in the eternal classic.

Indeed, when India hosts Spain for a Davis Cup World Group play-off tie at the DLTA courts in New Delhi, the most avid Indian tennis fan will not be bothered about the progress of the event that gets underway on Friday evening. He would be enamoured, seeing in flesh and blood the likes of 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.

It is a mismatch when viewed from any angle. Spain is a multiple Davis Cup champion whereas India came nearest in the heyday of Vijay Amritraj in 1974 when it bowed down to the prevalent World Order and refused to play the summit clash against South Africa in protest against the government’s apartheid policies. India with Vijay and his doubles partner, and current team’s non-playing captain, Anand Amritraj, were firm favourites for a shot at eternal glory.

Coming to the present times, it goes without saying that the national men’s team is in a terrible mess, thanks to the ego-ridden administrators and the unease that prevails among the players. The Indian camp can boast of no player worth taking a bet on, despite the commendable US Open showing by Visakhapatnam player and the new skipper Saketh Myneni, who has played a mere four Davis Cup matches till date.

Ramkumar Ramanathan, who has played one Cup match, will be a psychological wretch when he opens the campaign against Nadal. There is no denying the fact that Indians cannot entertain any hopes of getting home support as the fans will root for Nadal, whose popularity across the globe is rather extraordinary.

The Spanish team has to be appreciated for its seriousness in proving itself. Even if Nadal had stayed away from the engagement, the team would still be more formidable than an Indian team that cannot even be classified as rookies in singles. That Spain is fielding a full-fledged outfit is an endorsement of their determination to make it to the elite World Group.

This comes in stark contrast to the spineless approach employed by AITA, which has exposed itself by making the entry free as it wishes that the budding players can get to watch Nadal and Ferrer from close quarters.

What goes unsaid is that it would like witnessing Indians getting butchered, a la lambs to the slaughter, by the visiting team, the hopes of the most optimistic Indians, notwithstanding. The only Indian who is likely to scale dizzy heights is the ageless wonder Leander Paes.

If he and Myneni can achieve the improbable and pull-off an incredible win in the doubles, then Paes will pip Nicola Pietrangeli to emerge as the most successful doubles player in the prestigious event with win No 43. For now, what has to be seen is whether the pretenders can offer a semblance of fight and manage to earn some respect.

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