As the Indian tennis team got onboard to take on the Serbians in the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie in their home ground, Kraljevo, Serbia. The Indians was hoping that India would emulate their Davis Cup glories from the year 2011 and 2014, where India had won both ties and was one of the favourite contenders. Also, the absence of the World Number 3 tennis player, Novak Djokovic was advantageous for India. But an altered result was obtained despite the absence of Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic. In addition to that, the Number One Indian tennis player, Yuki Bhambri and the Number Two doubles tennis player, Divij Sharan were missing from the draw. India now has lost four out of five meetings against Serbia. In1927 India won over Serbia and back then Serbia was part of Yugoslavia.
Dusan Lajovic and Laslo Djere were representing Serbia in the singles squad. And Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran were Indian representatives for the singles. The Davis Cup captain of India, Mahesh Bhupathi said, “It’s only going to get worse (as the tie progresses). But it’s OK. Tougher the condition, the better for us. They are the favourites.”
Ramanathan and Gunneswaran had lost their singles matches earlier in the dais Cup. Later, Sriram Balaji surrendered to Pedja Krstin in straight sets, 3-6 1-6 in 66 minutes. “It was not a bad match for me. In every service game, I had game points but I was not sharp enough to take them. Even most of the return games were close. The scoreline looks easy for him but we had long games,” Balaji said. “Before going into the tie, we thought we had a chance of beating them. But they came up strong in every match.”
Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni (who replaced Balaji on the captain’s call) had teamed up to play the do-or-die doubles rubber against Serbia. India was losing 0-3 in the Davis Cup. The Indian men conceded a 6-7(5) 2-6 6-7(4) defeat to the Serbs in two hours and 22 minutes.
Despite, the 0-4 loss off India to Serbia they manage to advance for the 24-team Davis Cup finals qualifying tournament in February 2019. India is Ranked second in the Asia/Oceania segment (not taking in Kazakhstan and Japan in the account as they have already advanced). However, India will be unseeded due to their slacked performance in Serbia when the draw will be made in the last week of September.