KOLKATA: Non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi on Wednesday said there is no room for excuses in the Davis Cup Qualifier against Italy starting here on Friday, especially after India got whatever they had desired.
Bhupathi said home comfort and the X-factor of Calcutta South Club’s grasscourts hold India in good stead in the tie.
“We definitely feel that this is our best chance to beat Italy on grass. Hard or clay is their strengths,” Bhupathi told reporters on the eve of the draw.
Having lost in the away play-offs to Serbia, India, three-time Davis Cup runners-up, were drawn to play against Italy at home in the Qualifiers in their bid for a coveted place in November’s 18-team Finals in Madrid.
Italy, who had lost to France in the World Group quarters, will have the unfamiliarity of grasscourts, something the hosts are looking at capitalising.
“We will know on Saturday if the advantage played out for us or not. So we’ve got the grass now I don’t think we have any room for excuses anymore,” Bhupathi said.
Contrary to widespread criticism all over the world over the new format, Bhupathi said the shortened arrangement would give India an edge over Italy who are ranked 10th, nine places above the hosts.
“When you’re trying to beat players who are better than you it’s always easier to do it in two sets rather than three out of five. So, when it comes to playing big teams, who are constantly in the world group, I think this change in format is great for the Indian team,” he said.
Bhupathi further said that they may start as underdogs but they are confident of upsetting Italy and do an encore of Vijay Amritraj and Co did at the same venue in the World Group first round in 1985.
“Internally within the 10 of us I think the conversation has never changed. There is a belief that everyone can contribute to hopefully upset the Italians,” he said of their opponents, who lead 4-1 in head-to-head re
“That’s how sport is. When a team is playing another team in any sport, one team is underdog while the other is favourite. We are going in as underdogs, that’s the bottom line.”