New Delhi, March 6 - India's ace doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi has opted out of next month's Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan to allow tour partner Rohan Bopanna pair with Leander Paes, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) announced here Tuesday.
India face Uzbekistan in the Asia/Oceania Group I zone tie next month.
The AITA said that Davis Cup captain S. P. Misra wanted two singles players and the selection had to choose two doubles specialists from among Paes, Bhupathi and Bopanna.
AITA secretary Anil Khanna said Bhupathi opted out of the tournament since he felt that Bopanna and Paes form the best doubles pair and Bopanna can also play singles if needed.
The four-member committee headed by Anil Dhupar also did not consider injured Somdev Devvarman and included talented youngsters Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh.
Vishnu Vardhan, who made his debut in India's last tie against Japan, has been named as reserve player.
The AITA said in a statement that in its Tennis Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, held Jan 12, Misra had given a report on the previous Davis Cup tie in Japan which India lost 1-4.
"He stated that Somdev injured himself after the first singles and could not play the reverse singles. Rohan played two singles and doubles match. Since Leander had not travelled to Japan because of the injury sustained during US Open, Vishnu Vardhan, who was the fourth member of the team, played the reverse singles in place of Somdev
"Mr Misra had, therefore, desired that the Davis Cup team should consist of 2 singles players, Rohan Bopanna who is also a doubles specialist, could also pay singles if required, and one more doubles specialist. This view of the Captain was unanimously agreed to by the members of the TAC," AITA said.
AITA quoted Bhupathi as saying that "he is always available to play for India in Davis Cup matches, as well as for the Olympics. Mahesh has stated that seeing the current situation it will be appropriate to select Leander & Rohan as Leander has recently won the Australian Open and Rohan besides being a great doubles player is also currently ranked No. 8 in the world and is capable of playing singles, if required. The selfless opinion of Mahesh was deeply appreciated by the Selection Committee".
Davis Cup team: Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri, Sanam Singh and Vishnu Vardhan (reserve) (IANS)
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