New Delhi: The slow courts were best suited to the players who chose to skip the tie and had V M Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik competed on a fast surface, the hosts would have a better chance of winning the Davis Cup tie against South Korea, the Indian team said in one voice on Sunday.
The physically demanding slow courts actually suited the Korean players who won the tie 4-1. Players such as Somdev Devvarman, who led the players' revolt, are supremely fit to play on the slow courts, where retrieving the balls consistently and stamina count the most.
It has been learnt that the AITA re-painted the centre court about 20 days ahead of the tie, resulting in the making the surface slower. "The slow court was against us. It was tailor-made for someone like Somdev. It was too slow, the guys tried but could not adjust," India's non-playing captain S P Misra said.
Asked if he would have done better had he played on a fast court, V M Ranjeet, who played as India's number one singles player, replied, "100 percent". "If it was a faster court, we would have been up on first day. Basically, it was like the Koreans playing in home conditions. It was perfect for them, they are physically strong," Ranjeet, who played superbly on Sunday but could not pull it off for India, said. "Wish we had played on lightening fast courts or grass courts," he added.
The captain, who himself is uncertain if AITA would persist with him in the next tie, said the Koreans were superior. "Playing Davis Cup is altogether different. Koreans were more experienced. If you look at Ranjeet, he was wiped out on Friday but did put up a fight today. Koreans were far superior.
"Losing a tie is always sad, so I am disappointed but we have to say Koreans were better today," he said. Misra said once the issues with the rebel players are sorted out, it will be back to normal and higher-ranked players will again form the core of the team.
He refuted suggestions that it will be unfair to Ranjeet, Malik and Purav Raja if top players come back and included in the next tie. "These guys knew coming into the tie that higher-ranked players will come back once everything is settled. They came and did the job, I don't think they feel that they will be persisted with."
Misra also said the rebel players should now come forward and talk face to face with AITA to sort out issues. "Most of their demands were conceded. The others were also conveyed and I don't understand their insistence on getting everything in writing. I have sympathy for them. In the whole thing, they are the losers.
"If they ask for a say in the organisational matters, in selection of support staff, it's not correct. It's prerogative of AITA," he said. Misra said the settlement should be such that it makes both the parties happy even if it means that he will have to go.
"If players don't want me, I will go. There's no problem," said Misra. Meanwhile, Malik said he fought hard but admitted that opponents were better than him. Ranjeet said he was satisfied with the kind of tennis played in the tie.
"I don't think, I played bad the other day. He was better and never gave cheap points. But I did not worry much about the result. Today, I came out positive. The adrenaline was high, I was trying to fight till the last point and I am happy with the fight," he said.
"Wherever I missed, I missed by a few inches, marginally. But no excuses. It was a close match, could have gone either way. I needed more experience. I have played enough matches but Davis Cup is different scenario," Ranjeet said.
Ranjeet said playing before the home crowd did not create any pressure on him, instead it motivated him. "You play well when you play for the country. You are motivated. You want to do it. I knew I had a tough task, I fought till the end. I was pushed. The crowd was superb. It was fantastic. I had goose bumps when I entered the court. It was special feeling," he said.
The 27-year-old Chennai guy also said he is richer in experience after playing a Davis Cup tie. "The last 10 days have been huge. I have been with the team once as a reserve. I have learnt a lot, more experienced and will be a better person on the court," he said.