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Slow surface led to India's downfall, says Leander Paes

Here’s some more sad news for the already disheartened Indian tennis fan following the country’s 0-2 showing on Day One of the Davis Cup clash against South Korea in New Delhi yesterday.

Leander Paes
India tennis ace Leander Paes during the Davis Cup draw in New Delhi on Thursday. Pic/AFP

Those expecting veteran Leander Paes, who features in today’s doubles rubber, to bring some cheer amidst the pall of gloom at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association courts, could face further disappointment. 

The six-time Olympian and one of the greatest players in the history of the Davis Cup, Paes believes the visitors will have the upper hand today.

“The Koreans are 2-0 up and they will be on fire today. They will come hard at us and myself and Purav (Raja) will have to play really well to beat them. It will be a very tough match. Nothing can be taken for granted,” Paes told MiD DAY yesterday.

Vijayant Malik
Double blow: India’s Vijayant Malik (left) and Virali-Murugesan Ranjeet during their Davis Cup singles matches against South Korea’s Jeong Suk-Young and Cho Min-Hyeok respectively in New Delhi yesterday. Malik retired due to cramps with the score reading 4-6, 5-7, 0-3 against him after Ranjeet went down rather tamely 1-6, 0-6, 1-6 earlier in the day. Veteran Leander Paes will team up with Purav Raja for the doubles rubber today. Pics/AFP

India’s World No 511 Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan yesterday suffered an embarrassing 1-6, 0-6, 1-6 defeat to South Korean Cho Min-Hyeok. Thereafter, No 537 Vijayant Malik retired with cramps with the score reading 4-6, 5-7, 0-3 against Jeong Suk-Young to leave the hosts 0-2 down in the five-match three-day encounter.

Paes is the only established player in this Davis Cup outfit, after a Somdev Devvarman-led rebellion against the All India Tennis Association has seen almost all of India’s top players opt out the ongoing tie. Paes however, defended his two singles teammates.

“The (court) surface is really slow and that’s working against us. The Koreans on the other hand, are very fit. Almost every point yesterday came after 19 or 20-shot rallies. The Koreans are simply working the ball around, tiring out the opponent, and the slow surface is helping them do that,” added the 39-year-old doubles specialist.

However, this does not mean the Indians won’t fight it out to try and reduce the deficit today. “We’ll give it our best. The slow surface will come back to haunt us, but hopefully the end result will brighten up the mood in our camp right now,” Paes signed off. 

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