The Indian team is prepared to face a stern test in Nur Sultan Kazakhstan in the coming Fed Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 women’s tennis tournament.
The competition is expected to be tough and lively this time around with one pool of six teams.
With two qualification slots available for the six participating countries, every team will want to try harder to make the cut. They will be leaving for Kazakhstan on January 31 to acclimatize for the tournament that will commence on February 4.
Speaking on the traveling plan, the team’s captain, Vishal Uppal, said all formalities had been addressed.
She further explained that Ankita Raina and Riya Bhatia, who will be competing in a tournament in Thailand this week, are expected to join the team in Nur Sultan, depending on their performance. It means that if they progressed in the competition, they might have to fly to Kazakhstan directly while the rest of the squad will be leaving from Delhi.
It could be recalled that the competition was billed to hold in Dongguan, China, initially. It was later shifted to Nur Sultan by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) due to the increasing travel restrictions in China following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
India’s male team had played its Davis Cup tie against Pakistan at the same venue sometime last year after the tie was moved away from Islamabad. Kazakhstan was used as an ideal emergency venue because it has the provision of a visa-on-arrival.
The other teams that will be participating in the tie include China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Korea, and Uzbekistan.
First and second from the group will secure tickets for the World Group-2 play-off after the league stage. The last two tea on the group would be relegated to group-2 in the zone.
Speaking on the calf injury sustained by a senior player, Sania Mirza, the captain said her recovery is being monitored.
Sania is believed to have aggravated the injury she sustained while winning the Hobart Open at the Australian Open.
The last time India participated in the competition, they did well at the same venue. They lost to Korea in the match for third place.
The Indian squad will have Rutuja Bhosale this time around after missing out in the last edition due to injury.
Others include the national champion, Sowjanya Bavisetti, who will be in reserve. Ankita Bhambri will coach them while Anand Dubey will be the team’s physiotherapist.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed