India banking on home advantage against Brazil in Davis Cup

New Delhi: India`s top singles player Somdev
Devvarman and non-playing captain S P Misra are hoping to
exploit the home conditions to re-enter the David Cup World
Group when they host Brazil in the play-off tie in September.

India have played a lot of away-ties in the Davis Cup in
the recent past and the last time the team played at home was
in April 2008, when they defeated Japan.

Even after playing on away venues, India have done
exceedingly well to progress to World Group from the
Asia/Oceania group I after 11 years.

With the ascendancy of Somdev, victories came over
Chinese Taipei and South Africa in their own den, last year.
And now that India will play at home in favourable conditions,
both Somdev and Misra seemed excited.

"I`m really excited about playing Brazil. I think they`re
a very good team but we have a big advantage playing at home,"
Somdev told reporters.

Misra added: "This is what I was looking forward to. This
home advantage is crucial. It`s long time that we played at
home. Luckily we have got for a World Group play-off tie."

Brazil are known to be a formidable outfit on clay
courts, so India are expected to host them on hard courts.

But in spite of home advantage, Somdev expects a tough
fight in the encounter.

"I think Brazil is a very good team. They have very good
doubles players. Belucci has been having a great year and they
have other guys who are playing really well too," he said.

Misra said he would urge All India Tennis Association to
host the tie on hard courts.

"They are clay court experts, so we should have home
advantage but they are a difficult lot. Somdev prefers playing
on hard courts and it`s AITA who has to decide the surface. I
will let them know the players` preferences," he said.

"I`m not so sure about the hard courts. We haven`t played
a home tie in a while so I`m sure the surface of the tie will
be a good topic of discussion. I`ll be interested to see what
surface we play on and where the tie will be," Somdev said.

Brazil have a top-30 player in Thomas Bellucci and two
other top-100 players in their ranks, so both Somdev and Misra
are aware of the competition at hand.

"The tie is a few months away and a lot of their team
selection will depend on how their players are playing at that
time. So it will be interesting to see who they will play but
it will be a good change for us either way," Somdev said.

"We haven`t yet decided what the surface will be but I
can imagine we`ll pick something we`re more comfortable on
that them. I think we`ll also be more accustomed to the
climate and conditions here," he said.