Given the turmoil situation in the Indian tennis circuit, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has handed the Davis Cup captain SP Misra another responsibility. The AITA has appointed Misra as team leader of the Indian team that will take part in the London Olympics. “It is a big honour for me. To be the coach and mentor of the team for Olympics is very challenging,’’ said mild-mannered Misra.
With the recent rift between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, AITA needed a person who could be comfortable with both the groups. “I have been with the Davis Cup team for the last four years. I have been comfortable with all the players. I think that is the reason I have been given this job,’’ said Misra. According to Misra, the best team has been chosen for the Olympics. “After all the drama, I think it is time to settle down. We have some good players who can rise to the occasion,’’ he said.
Misra said Olympics and Davis Cup are a totally different. “Olympics is much tougher and bigger field than Davis Cup. In Davis Cup you play against one country in five matches but in Olympics the best players will be seen in action in one arena. The players have to really perform to get the results,’’ he said. Praising Paes, Misra said one should not forget the services of Leander. “This is his sixth Olympics. To play for 22 years is mind-boggling. He has been at the top for all these years.’’
Misra thinks Paes and Sania Mirza can come good. “They are seasoned players. Perhaps a good draw, could put them in medal reckoning too,’’ he said. Bhupathi and Bopanna have the match experience to excel. “They have been training together for the last couple of months. I think they have the experience to shine,’’ concluded Misra.