Whether Serbia will have Djoko in their ranks is hard to say, but Leander Paes reckons it’ll be a tough tie for the hosts anyway
India might have notched up a historic 3-1 victory over South Korea to enter the World Group play-offs of the Davis Cup, but India's veteran tennis ace Leander Paes believes India will have their work cut out against fancied Serbia, which could boast of players of the calibre of Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic.
Rohan Bopanna reacts after losing a point to Serbia's Viktor Troicki during their Davis Cup World Group Round One match in 2011. Pic/AFP
"A job well done in Korea, but the next tie's (against Serbia from September 12 to 14) going be a tough one," Leander said on the sidelines of an event to launch his own tennis academy Ace Tennis in collaboration with Khar Gymkhana yesterday.
Serbia will face India for the second time in three years, having defeated India 4-1 in 2011. However, it remains to be seen if top players like Djokovic will travel to India since the tie is to be played at the end of the considerably full regular season and before the inaugural edition of the International Tennis Premier League begins in November where he will turn out for the Dubai franchise.
Leander, who is currently on a self-imposed one-year break from playing for the tri-colour, believes that India's squad depth is a cause for concern. "There was a time when India was the No 1 nation by far in all of Asia. But in the last few years, we have dropped a little bit as nations like Japan and South Korea got better.
'A long way to go'
"The Korea tie was a good one, but I still feel there's a long way to go. In singles, we have options but the quality has to get a lot better. We need to get two top quality singles players to play against the World Group nations. It's a real concern.
At the doubles level, we only have two players who are playing at the world-class level. After that there's quite a big drop. To get the quality better is the call of the day," the 40-year-old added.