A great way to finish: Misra

Bangalore, April 7 (IANS) There could not have been a better parting gift than a 5-0 victory, said India team captain Shiv Prakash Misra who laid down office at the conclusion of the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group 1 relegation tennis tie against Indonesia here Sunday.

“It was a superb tie for Yuki Bhambri. He played very well in his first match, and again he was excellent today. I congratulate Yuki,” Misra said.

“I had a great last tie. I want to thank the players for giving me respect throughout my tenure. They gave me a 5-0 win in the last tie. So that’s great,” said the non-playing captain at a media conference.

Regarding Sanam Singh not playing the first reverse singles Sunday, Misra clarified that a wrist injury that the 25-year old suffered during the doubles tie Saturday had aggravated and hence Somdev Devvarman was nominated.

“During the doubles match, Sanam suffered an injury to the wrist. Today, at practice, he was barely able to hit the ball. The doctor came and checked on him, and said he cannot play.”

“Sanam has a ganglion cyst in the wrist which needs treatment. It was very sporting of Somdev to come and play. I made the call 15 minutes before 2 p.m. I had to nominate a player an hour before the match,” said Misra.

Devvarman admitted that it took him a while to get his bearings after the last-minute switch as he had woken up late after it was decided that Sanam would play the singles.

“I came to know at 2 p.m. Sanam said there was something wrong with his wrists. He was about to warm up. Hopefully, he will be fine,” Devvarman said.

“I didn’t think I was supposed to play, right? I was just taking it easy for next week. So slept in, had a late breakfast. I was going to come over here late, just in time for the match.”

“Then I was informed to bring my tennis bag, just in case, because you may have to play a match. Then, I had to check if I had enough clothes, came here and strung my racquet.”

“Maybe at the start, I was not that sharp, just not as ready as I was on the first day. But don’t take credit away from the other guy. I think he played well. He was serving well and fighting for breaks every time. I think I did just what I needed to do to win the match,” said Devvarman.

On his immediate future plans, Devvarman said the focus would be on getting back into top 100 by playing the Challengers in preparations for the French Open.

“My injury protected rankings run out next week. I will be back to doing what I did 3-4 years ago. My aim will be to get back to the top 100. I am going to play three Challengers before the French Open,” Devvarman said.

“I am actually happy to be in the 200s because I started the year in the seven hundreds. Every time I and my coach start the season, we target somewhere around 800 or 1000 points a year. That comes to about 250 points a quarter.”

“I think my first quarter goal is achieved. It’s going to be tough to get 200 more points in the next quarter, but I am going to play some more Challengers and if I can win one or do well, it will be possible for me to get back,” the young player said.

“There are a lot of good players out there so it will not be easy. I have a lot of work ahead of me, no question about that. Working hard has never been an issue for me, so I am looking forward to it. Hopefully, I will have some good results,” he said.

Team coach Zeeshan Ali said: “It was a great three days. The boys played solid tennis. The scoreline does not reflect how close the tie was. Obviously, we were a much stronger team, but we all know that rankings don’t matter in the Davis Cup, so it was good that we finished with a 5-0 win.”

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