India’s non-playing Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi on Friday said he will give an appropriate response to estranged partner Leander Paes’ attack after winning the ongoing tie against Uzbekistan.
“We just talked that we will focus on the match and a response (to Paes) will be given after we win the tie,” Bhupathi told reporters after India took a 2-0 lead on the opening day of the Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie at the KSLTA stadium.
After being left out of the Davis Cup for the first time in 27 years, an angry Paes had lashed out at Bhupathi, accusing his former partner of flouting selection criteria.
Paes hinted that his bitter relationship with Bhupathi might have played a role in his omission from the squad. Bhupathi chose seasoned Rohan Bopanna over Paes despite the veteran winning a Challenger title in Mexico only a few days back.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran handed India a 2-0 lead over Uzbekistan as they staved off a spirited challenge from the Uzbeks in their respective singles matches on the opening day of the tie.
In the first singles, 267th ranked Ramanathan overcame Temur Isamilov 6-2 5-7 6-2 7-5, while debutant Gunneswaran, ranked 187, outwitted Sanjar Fayzieb 7-5 3-6 6-3 6-4. Asked about today’s results, Bhupathi said both the singles players did exceedingly well despite losing Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni to injuries. “Ram, a grinder as he is, found his way through and brought us a victory, which was much needed for him, as he was lying low for quite some time,” he said.