Tennis: Misra hopes to bow out on winning note

Bangalore, March 31 (IANS) Shiv Prakash Misra, in the eye of the storm not too long ago when India's top guns demanded his ouster as the non-playing captain, appeared confident that he would go out on a winning note when India take on Indonesia in the Asia-Oceania Group Davis Cup tie at the KSLTA stadium here on April 5-7.

The former Davis Cupper will be stepping down from his post on conclusion of the tie after a six-year stint, but was quietly confident that India will extend their unbeaten record against Indonesia.

"It's good to have the Davis Cup in Bangalore after 28 years and I am pleased with the conditions and court has been made ready to our specifications and on the slower side. I hope we have a good tie here," said Misra courtside here Sunday as he watched the Indian team's reserve players practice.

Ramanathan Ram Kumar and Arjun Khade along with the reserves Vijayant Malik and Sriram Balaji, had a solid three-hour workout that ended under lights while the top four: Somdev Devvarman, Leander Paes, Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh will be joining the squad Monday.

For Misra, who last played for India in 1969-70 season, next weekend's tie would be his last as the non-playing captain and he said he had enjoyed good rapport with the players during his tenure.

"I step down after this tie and I am sure they will find a good and suitable replacement and take this team forward. In my six-year stint, I enjoyed good rapport with all the team members, including Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, and I wish the team well for the future," said Misra.

He gave his nod for the matches being played under lights. "Obviously, it has been done to attract more crowd and I hope there is a good turnout, especially on Saturday and Sunday," he said.

Misra opined that it was about time to groom talent, especially those youngsters blessed with good height and build.

Pointing out to the National grass court champion Ram Kumar, Misra said: "Boys like him with good, height, reach and strokes are good prospects for the future and so are others like Sriram Balaji."

Dwelling on the recent controversies that led to the boycott by India's top players of February's Davis Cup tie against Korea, Misra hoped differences would soon be resolved amicably.

"It was quite unfortunate and most of their demands have been conceded by the AITA and whatever that remains, can be resolved amicably. The sooner we do it, the better for Indian tennis," said Misra.