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Prakash and Somdev are ideal players of clay: Bhupathi

September 11, 2008 21:06 IST

Mahesh Bhupathi on Thursday tipped Prakash Amritraj and new kid on the block Somdev Devvarman as ideal players for India's upcoming Davis Cup tie in Romania.

"I feel Prakash and Somdev would be ideal players for the tie to be played on clay court," Bhupathi said on the sidelines of a clinic organised by the Mahesh Bhupathi Team Tennis at Friends Club in New Delhi.

The World number 11 doubles player heaped praise on Somdev and said he is one player who can play in all surface.

"Somdev is an exciting player, he has got amazing college records. He has been successful in all surfaces and will prove to be a key player against Romania," he said.

Asked if he was happy with the Davis Cup team, Bhupathi said, "We don't have an option really. Ideally, I would have loved to have five players, two for doubles and three for singles so that incase of an injury the fifth player can come good."

Bhupathi, who along with Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj created quite a stir demanding the resignation of Leander Paes as India's Davis Cup captain, said he never had any personal issues with him but it was more a difference of opinion.

"I never had any personal issues with Leander, we had a difference of opinion. The younger guys in the team might have had some issues but now that he has resigned, things should look fine."

Bhupathi said he was expecting a positive result in Romania, one that could see India progressing to the World Group stage after a gap of 11 years. 

"We have a good blend of youth and experience and hopefully things would go in our favour," he added.

Regarding the recent All India Tennis Association (AITA) ruling that restricts tournaments being organised by private entities, Bhupathi said he never had any bad blood with the association and would look forward to working together in future.

"It (relation) is not at all negative. For the last five years we have been organising events together with the AITA and there has never been a problem. So even in the future if we host a tournament we will do it jointly with the association," he said.

Bhupathi, who along with his partner Paes failed to reach the semi-finals of the Beijing Olympics, said it was the hunger of Roger Federer that put paid to their efforts.

"We were playing very well that day but it was Federer who made all the difference. Losing the singles actually triggered the hunger in him and he became dangerous, he was playing all sort of shots, saving crucial points.

"We knew if there was any team who could defeat us it would be Roger and (Stanislas) Wawrinka," he said.

Bhupathi also had some words of sympathy for Sania Mirza and hoped the Hyderabad girl would be back next season.

"She has been injured and is just unlucky. I know her ranking has been going down but that is not an issue. She will be out of the court for a while but I am hopeful she will be fit next season and will regain her spot."

A keen admirer of the game, Bhupathi, who had been giving tips to the youngsters as a part of his Mahesh Bhupathi Team Tennis initiative, feels lack of fitness is one biggest issue of Indian Tennis and has been doing his bit to address it.

"Fitness is one of the biggest issue in India tennis but we are trying to address it. We have experts from Argentina, South Africa who keep coming to India and help these kids. We have coaches dedicated to fitness training and 15-20 fulltime coaches here," he said.

"We have 49 sites all over the place, everytime I come to India I visit them and throw in my inputs. Besides we have head coaches who visit them in weekly basis," he added.

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