Djokovic's presence will make Serbia favourites: Zeeshan Ali
India's Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali on Thursday said that although world No 1 Novak Djokovic's participation will tilt the balance in Serbia's favour in the upcoming Davis Cup World Group play-off tie, it would be a tie worth remembering for the spectators.
Bangalore: India's Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali on Thursday said that although world No 1 Novak Djokovic's participation will tilt the balance in Serbia's favour in the upcoming Davis Cup World Group play-off tie, it would be a tie worth remembering for the spectators.
"From the team's perspective, Djokovic's particpation will tilt the balance on Serbia's favour. Nevertheless, it will be a good tie regardless of whether Djokovic came or not," he told reporters here.
"It would, however, be a good learning curve for Yuki Bhambri, who had never played against these high-ranked players like the visiting Serbs," Zeeshan opined.
"It is great somebody like Djokovic is playing before the Indian crowd and against our players. It is tremendous for the sport," he said.
Asked how difficult it would be for India to face the challenge from a player like Djokovic, Zeeshan said "playing for the country is always going to be pressure situation for any team or a player, regardless whether Djokovic is playing or not."
Questioned whether the surface at the KSLTA will give an advantage for Indian players, Ali said it wouldn't be of any consequence because the balls and surfaces played on are of same nature all around the world, unlike what it was some two decades back.
"I don't think the surface, the ball and weather will have any consequence because all are playing on same surface and same balls all around the world," he said.
"Twenty years ago the foreign players struggled to adjust to the local conditions - Indian balls and grassy courts - but that is not case any more," Ali added.
However, India has the advantages of crowd support and playing in Bangalore which is situated on a higher altitude, Zeeshan said.
"Bangalore is situated on higher altitude and it will take time for Serbian players to adjust their game. But, Indian players are used to play under these conditions, and also we have crowd support -- these are two major advantages India has playing here," he said.
Asked about the arrangements made for spectators, Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) Secretary C S Sunder Raju said,"We have taken all steps to make spectators comfortable in the stadium. What they want - They want proper access to stadium, seating and food arrangements. We are trying to make sure that such basic requirements are made available."
KSLTA had last hosted a Davis Cup tie in August 1985, when India met Sweden in the quarter-finals.
The formidable Swedish squad of Mats Wilander, Andres Jarryd, Stefan Edberg and Joakim Nystrom defeated a vintage Indian team comprising Vijay Amritaj, Anand Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan and Sashi Menon 4-1.
Replying to a query, Ali said the Indian players will arrive in the city on September 8 and Serbians will come in batches between September 8 and September 10.
Doordarshan will telecast live the World Group Davis Cup tie. Serbia September 2 had named Djokovic in their Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against India.
The four-member squad also has multiple Grand Slam winner Nenad Zimonjic. Ranked 61 in the world, Dusan Lajovic and 108th ranked Filip Krajinovic are the other two players in the side. Bogdan Obradovic will be the captain of the visiting side.
The winner of the September 12-14 tie will advance to the elite 16-nation World Group.