NEW DELHI: The two biggest names in Indian tennis, Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan put up a sublime performance to clinch the men's doubles title at the Tata Open Maharashtra.
The duo beat the top seeds from Australia, Luke Saville and John Patrick Smith 6-7, 6-3, 10-6 in a thriller at the Balewadi Stadium.
This will be a huge morale booster for the pair and the entire Indian Davis Cup squad who are set to take on Denmark on March 4 and 5 at the Delhi Gymkhana Club in the World Group I Playoffs tie.
After winning the men's doubles title at ATP 250 Tata Open Maharashtra, Ramkumar Ramanathan is now inside the doubles top-100 for the first time in his career. He is ranked 94 while Bopanna climbs up by 8 places to move to 35th.
Bopanna and Ramanathan are an integral part of the Indian team which has already been announced and comprises Yuki Bhambri (670-singles), Prajnesh Gunneswaran (235-singles), and Divij Sharan (134-doubles). The squad is led by coach Zeeshan Ali and non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal.
Speaking at the post-match conference in Balewadi, Rohan Bopanna, said, "I think we have a really strong squad going into the Davis Cup this year. For doubles we have Ram, Yuki, Divij, and myself, so a lot of options to play with. It depends on how the first day goes and then it will be the coach's decision to field the doubles pair."
He further added "Playing anywhere in India is special to me and Pune is that much more special because I have lived here for 5 years (1994-99). I have a good connection with the city although when I was living here, the Balewadi Stadium wasn't even there, there are some really fond memories here."The tie will be held in the grass courts of the Delhi Gymkhana Club in a biosecurity bubble. India would consider playing on grass an added advantage over Denmark who are more comfortable playing on clay courts.
India will have a hurdle of Denmark's Holger Rune who is currently ranked 88th in men's singles. No other Danish singles player is ranked in the Top 200.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since 1984, when India won 3-2 in Aarhus, Denmark on the clay surface.