For the second time in as many years, India will take on Denmark in a World Group 1 Playoffs tie of the Davis Cup. In the upcoming away tie though, which will be held on February 3 and 4 at the Royal Stage in Hillerød, Denmark, the hosts are armed with world no 9 Holger Rune as their spearhead.
The last time the two countries met, in March 2022, India walked away 4-0 winners of the tie held in New Delhi, against a Danish team that did not have their best player present.
Rune’s availability at for this match-up though seems to have prompted the Indian think-tank to overlook the current rankings when it came to announcing the playing team at the draw ceremony on Thursday.
Playing Rune in the first match of the tie is Yuki Bhambri, a former top 100 player, who recently decided to lean into becoming a doubles specialist. Playing singles along with Bhambri is Sumit Nagal, the current world No 506, who takes on world No 484 August Holmgren.
Nagal being named to play the second rubber means the current India No 1, world No 342 Prajnesh Gunneswaran has not been included in the playing team. Interestingly, Prajnesh, the former world No 75, just last week won a Futures event in Kuwait. Additionally, India’s No 2 and No 3 singles players Sasikumar Mukund and Ramkumar Ramanathan have also not been named to play so far.
For the lone-doubles match, India’s non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal nominated world No 17 Rohan Bopanna to pair up with Bhambri, who is currently ranked 90 in doubles. The duo will be fancied to win their match against the team of doubles world No 358 Johannes Ingildsen and No 720 Christian Sigsgaard.
Rune will then take on Nagal in the fourth rubber before Holmgren faces Bhambri in the fifth match.
On the bench for India, along with Prajnesh is former India No 1 Ramkumar who, as it stands, will not be playing in a Davis Cup tie for the first time since he made his India debut in 2016 against South Korea. Rajpal though does have the option of changing the lineup at the end of the first day’s play should the team require it.
A win in the tie would keep India in World Group 1. A loss however would mean they will drop down to the lower division World Group 2.
Friday’s matches will start at 20:30 hrs IST, and will be broadcast on DD Sports. Saturday’s matches start at 16:30 hrs IST.