New Delhi: The All India Tennis Association (AITA) may back Leander Paes to the hilt in getting him on the Indian Olympic squad but the veteran star will not be picked in the Davis Cup team despite showing late interest in competing in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie against Korea Republic next month.
The AITA selection committee is expected to pack the side with youngsters and hand Ramkumar Ramanathan his Davis Cup debut on the grass courts of Chandigarh Club when it announces the team tomorrow.
Yuki Bhambri, the highest-ranked singles player in the country at number 147, will lead the challenge of the side, which will have Saketh Myneni (ranked 150 in singles and 125 in doubles) and Rohan Bopanna (number 10 in doubles) as the other playing members of the team.
The young Sumit Nagal, who won the boys doubles Wimbledon championship last year, will also get into the Davis Cup squad as he is set be included as one of the two reserve members.
The 42-year-old Paes had earlier said that he won't play in the Asia/Oceania zone ties to allow youngsters to gain experience playing for the nation but recently showed interest in playing the Korea tie.
However, AITA had already initiated the process and had asked for the availability of the players, who were certain to be picked for the tie. "If Leander was to be included, it meant that one of those players had to be dropped from the scheme of things and that would be unfair," an AITA source told PTI. "Paes got late in showing interest otherwise as senior player he would have been considered," the official added.
Going by the current rankings, Myneni being the second highest-ranked player in singles may have to play on all three days which will be a test of his fitness. If India seals the tie on the second day itself, then Ramkumar may play one of the two reverse singles. India had lost to Czech Republic in the World Group Play-off tie in September 2015 to get back to the Group I. They got a first round bye and if they beat Korea, will again get a chance to compete in World Play-off tie against either China or Uzbekistan.
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