India Insight

Indian tennis players “lack killer instinct”: Bogdan Obradovic

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

Riding on the back of two magnificent comeback matches (Leander Paes-Rohan Bopanna doubles victory, followed by Somdev Devvarman’s win in singles in Bangalore), Yuki Bhambri, 22, had everything going for him in the final rubber of the India-Serbia World Group play-off tie. Yuki had the “momentum” going into the match against Filip Krajinovic, 22, but he didn’t bring two important ingredients to the court: tenacity and killer instinct.

India paid dearly.

Filip, playing the biggest match of his Davis Cup career, a live fifth rubber, showed remarkable composure to best his opponent in three straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-4, ensuring Serbia’s return to where it belongs, the World Group.

“It’s easy to criticise during crisis time, but one has to tell the player how to raise the game when things are not going his way. A captain cannot afford to drop his shoulders when the player on court is making a series of unforced errors. The captain should be up on his feet trying to bring back that spark in the player,” said Bogdan Obradovic, Serbia’s non-playing captain. He did not name Anand Amritraj while hinting at the Indian captain’s lack of passion in backing the players in a team event like Davis Cup.

Bogdan said if Indian players like Yuki and Somdev manage to instill that killer instinct in their game, India would show up regularly in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Davis Cup.

Davis Cup: Serbia showcases the art of winning

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

“I had nothing to lose.” It sounded quite innocuous when Filip Krajinovic, 22, said this to the media after winning his match against Somdev Devvarman at the Davis Cup in Bangalore on Friday, but it’s a lethal attitude. “Nothing to lose” is reverse psychology; it helps to achieve the opposite result.

With their marquee player, World  No. 1 Novak Djokovic, pulling out four days before the tie, and other experienced players like Janko Tipsarevic and Victor Troicki not in the team owing to injury and loss of form, last year’s finalist Team Serbia knew they had a lot at stake. It was not just a place in the World Group, but also their pride in being a fiercely competitive sporting nation was on the line.

Davis Cup: the mind games that teams play

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

In the Davis Cup, games begin long before the tie. The World Group playoff tie between host nation India and 2013 finalist Serbia, scheduled for Sept. 12-14, is no different. The moves, counter-moves and posturing are flying faster than aces – all for that psychological edge.

A grass court, which proved to be a crucial ally in the past, is no more a surface of preference for Team India as most of its players, except Leander Paes, are bred on hardcourt.

Indian tennis — flash in the pan or pointer to future?

Indian tennis is enjoying a wonderful run with three strong performances underlining the quality of their young players.
 
First it was the refreshingly energetic Somdev Devvarman who raced to the final of the Chennai Open, raising big hopes for India with their stalwarts Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes into their mid 30s.
 
Then 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri belied his lean frame but underlined his top ranking to claim the Australian Open boys’ singles title.

The Delhi boy is aiming to move on to the men’s circuit at the earliest, showing the understanding that the professional tour is where one needs to establish oneself.
 
Sania Mirza then claimed her first senior grand slam title, winning the mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi, which gave him his 11th grand slam title win.
 
For Mirza, the title will be really sweet, coming as she is after a frustrating period due to a wrist injury.
 
The performances by the trio shows the potential Indian tennis has as it looks into the future.
 
But is India capable of building a strong line-up and then a steady stream of players who can back up the main national stars?

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