India seemed to have shifted focus from their legendary pairing of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi by banking on youngsters for the forthcoming Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against the mighty Serbia.
India's numero uno singles player Somdev Devvarman will lead the Indian team in the Davis Cup against Serbia in Bangalore, starting 12 September , in the absence of veteran Paes and Bhupathi.
There were suggestions of including Bhupathi in the team but the selection panel decided to leave him out as he has not played competitive tennis for quite a long time. While Paes decided to opt out because of personal commitments.
"We will definitely miss Leander but he made himself unavailable citing personal reasons," chairman of the selection panel, Anil Dhupar said. Mahesh was not considered as he has not played for over six months. We have chosen the best possible squad and I am sure they will do well."
Apart from Somdev, India will be relying upon Yuki Bhambri, who is making a return from injury and a new but successful doubles pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Ramkumar Ramanathan are the reserves.
"I am happy with the composition," Indian coach Zeeshan Ali said. "Yuki returning to the squad is a good sign. Saketh has been doing well and it didn't come as a surprise when he was chosen with Rohan.
"Yes, the equations would have changed had Paes been there as he brings a lot of experience. But this team has done well in the past and I am confident they will fare well against Serbia."
Ali also insisted that they have selected the best possible combination in the absence of Paes and Bhupathi. Dhupar, in a statement, informed that Indian captain Anand Amritraj also wanted the same combination, as the pair of Paes-Bhupathi remains unavailable.
Sanam Singh, however, has missed the cut but will train with the squad at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association courts for the Asian Games. "Sanam will also be there to get some match practice ahead of the Asian Games," Ali said.
Serbia is expected to head into the crucial tie without their star player and world number one Novak Djokovic, while Janko Tipsarevic will also miss the encounter because of an injury.