The Indian Davis Cup team was the last to qualify for the next year's Davis Cup Qualifiers phase, defeating Pakistan 4-0 in Kazakhstan after many delays and setbacks. With their best players refusing to play a tie outside Pakistan (they were supposed to host the tie in Islamabad), two 17-year-old kids couldn't deal with much stronger and more experienced rivals, with the Indian delivering four commanding triumphs to set the clash against the two-time winners Croatia in March.
Without Marin Cilic and Borna Coric, Croatia couldn't do much at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid but they certainly want to beat India and secure their place at Caja Magica for another year, although the Indians will not go away without giving their best.
The Indian Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali was pleased with the way their team played against Pakistan, fully aware it will be much tougher to pass Croatia. Still, he is confident in their players' abilities, hoping they will all compete at 100% and try to cause an upset.
"Playing against Croatia will be very tough. They were the winners in 2018 and they are ranked second at the moment," Indian Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali said. "It's not going to be an easy tie by any means but we have a couple of months to go before the tie happens in March.
We have to sit down and see what's the best way forward, check tournaments the players are going to play and what kind of preparations we can have because playing away is going to be challenging. On paper, they are a better team but India's known to go out and created some magical moments on the court, those where we have beaten higher-ranked teams, there is no reason why we can repeat that.
We have players who are doing well in singles now. I'm hoping by March next year, Yuki Bhambri will be fit as well. We have Prajnesh who is in the top-100 and players who are in the top-100 in doubles as well. After many years, we have a good mixture of players in singles and doubles that we can count on.
In that way, it doesn't matter who we are playing; it's all about how we prepare and play our best tennis and stay healthy."