Mumbai: Ramkumar Ramanathan of India to take on the Spanish great, current world No.4 Rafael Nadal, as he shall open the proceedings of the opening singles on day one of the David Cup World Group Play-off against Spain, starting in New Delhi on Friday.
It’ll be followed by Saketh Myneni and current world number 13 David Ferrer, according to the draw announced by the International Tennis Federation on Thursday.
The second day is expected to be eventful, as the ace tennis maestro Leander Paes will pair up with Saketh Myneni, to lock horns with French Open Champions Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.
Saketh soon to go up against Nadal and Ramanathan with Ferrer in the reverse singles.
“I’m really excited to play one of the best players of all time. We have to keep the first few games close and play some aggressive tennis. I need to play with a lot of forehand and attack his forehand, play as deep as possible and of course serve well. I am ready to play my heart out,” Ramanathan gave us a heads up about his tactics.
“It’s going to be tough for everybody. It’s an important confrontation with both teams wanting to go to the World Group. May be we have better names and on ranking we’re higher but India team knows the conditions well so the home advantage will be with them, so it will be a tough one,” the 14-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, admits without any qualms.
“We are used to playing in different conditions but here the humidity is higher than even during the seasons. So we need to be fit and with best of five sets in this conditions, it will be hard. We need to adapt to the conditions and be prepared for the start,” he further adds.
On being asked about injury, he replies more determined than ever, that- “Injuries are always tough. It’s difficult to comeback but I think I did well. I had a good Olympics and then I competed well at the US Open. Here we are excited about the tie, we are motivated to reach the World Group and that remains the only goal.”
“We are the underdogs and we have to find a way to do well, put everything on line and bled blue on the court. If we can finish 1-1 after day 1, we will have a good chance. So everything depends on first day,” Saketh believes.
India had won against Korea with a 4-1 in their Asia/Oceania Group I second round tie while Spain v/s Romania dealt with the same margin in their Europe/Africa zonal tie.
India and Spain have combatted thrice so far in the Davis Cup with India being one point shy with the record of 1-2. The last time India played Spain was as far back as 1965 when they lost by 2-3.
Paes enthusiastically added: “I am really looking forward to the weekend, playing with the young boys and rewrite some history for India.”