The Indian Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi had made his debut in the biggest national tennis tournament back in 1995 in the quarter-final of Group I against Hong Kong at the Calcutta South Club. The same venue will serve as the host for the upcoming Davis Cup Qualifiers tie between India and Italy, with the host team standing as the favorite on grass court and in front of home crowd. From 2019, Davis Cup matches will be played in the best-of-three format at all levels and six players will form a team for each country, with 24 nations fighting for 12 places at Davis Cup finals in November.
With Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in doubles and also Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan who could play singles rubbers, India will be the favorite against the Italians and they should secure the place at Davis Cup finals if everything goes according to plans.
Also, Bhupathi talked about the potential return of Sania Mirza after giving birth, tournaments in India and Roger Federer, saying no one should rule the Swiss out at the Australian Open despite his age:
"It's the best chance we have.
That's why we chose grass. Now the team we have, grass suits lot of the players and we are happy to be back," Bhupathi said. "The new Davis Cup format is altered so regardless of what anybody says, it is what it is today.
As captain, I take the rules and our team tries to win by the rules, that is the bottom line. We are just happy to be playing a big match at home and obviously, Calcutta for me is a special place, where I made my debut. There is so much amazing tradition of tennis here.
I am excited to play here at the South Club, put the Italians on grass and see what we can give them. Sania Mirza will come back when and if she is ready. When you have a baby, priorities are different. When I had a baby, priorities were different.
It didn't come out of my stomach, I can imagine it's harder for her. So she has to take her time and decisions as they come. Four years ago, a lot of people told me Federer can never win a Grand Slam again and then he won three.
The genius of Roger Federer, you can never write him off. Of course, he is 37 years old, it is going to be tougher for him with every year. But you should never write him off in my opinion."