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.