To trump Serbia, AITA hopes to tap Bangalore’s altitude fix

Apr 29 2014, 15:05 IST
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SummaryHigh altitude and playing conditions were the main consideration as the All India Tennis Association (AITA) chose Bangalore as the venue for the Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against the Novak Djokovic-led Serbia.

High altitude and playing conditions were the main consideration as the All India Tennis Association (AITA) chose Bangalore as the venue for the Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against the Novak Djokovic-led Serbia.

The logic was that high altitude will pose the visitors a tougher challenge in the crucial tie, winner of which will progress to the World Group in 2015 while the losing side will have to contest in the Zone Groups. The tie, which will be held from September 12-14, will be held at the hard courts of the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, which are relatively slower in nature.

India’s Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali said they were considering Delhi and Bangalore as the two possible options, but chose the latter due to the tougher playing conditions it offers. “We chose Bangalore mainly because it is at a higher altitude,” Ali said.

Ali added that it will be tough for Djokovic, who will fly straight to India after participating in the US Open that will finish the week prior to the tie, and his team to get accustomed to the conditions in a day or two. “Assuming that Novak Djokovic will play, he will reach India on Wednesday or Thursday. In that case he will have only one or two days to get used to the conditions before playing his first match on Friday. Getting used to the conditions at a higher altitude is not easy for anyone,” Ali said.

The 2013 finalists will travel to India looking to continue their seven-year-long presence in the World Group. Serbia has made the quarter-finals or better every year since 2010. For India, this tie represents a chance to return to the Davis Cup’s top tier. India qualified for the playoff when they beat South Korea 3-1 at Busan in second round of Group I Asia/Oceania in the first week of April. Serbia will undoubtedly present a greater challenge for India. The 2010 champions may have suffered a loss to Switzerland in the World Group first round this year but their form in recent years has seen them become a force to be reckoned with.

Ali added that the crowd support at Bangalore would also prove to be crucial. “Two factors play a huge role in Davis Cup tie: playing conditions and crowd support. Our players too are comfortable playing at Bangalore. The slow courts there are something they like

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