Watch out for Prakash, Ind good enough for World Group: Mahesh

Kolkata, Feb 14 (UNI) India's doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi, while lauding Prakash Amritraj for his Davis Cup exploits against Uzbekistan, today said India had a promising team that could qualify for the World Group of Davis Cup.

The Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group I semi-final against Japan is scheduled in April.

If India beat Japan, they would advance to the World Group play-off and be within hand-shaking distance of regaining their position in the World Group.

India entered the semi-final last week, beating Uzbekistan 3-2 at the R K Khanna Stadium in the national Capital.

''India now has a big chance of moving to the world group if they play well,'' he said.

''I have great faith in Prakash. I am a great believer in his ability. He is a great prospect for Indian tennis. He can really do well in the coming days, '' Bhupathi said lauding the youngster for his courageous win over Farrukh Dustov in the decider.

About him pairing with Leander Paes, he said, '' We don't see playing together before the Beijing Olympics. '' Bhupathi, who has ten Grand Slam doubles titles in the bag, is due to partner Mark Knowles of Bahamas in the men's doubles.

The Le-Hesh pair has not played together since December, 2006, when they won the Asian Games doubles gold medal in Doha, after which they announced that they would never play together again.

But lately both players had said the country was much bigger than individual egos and they would always team up if it was a matter of playing for the country.

Talking about Sania Mirza opting out of the two tournaments in India this year, he said, ''She is not fully fit. She is mentally fatigued. She is not in a position to play. She has around six more years of tennis left and so skipping two tournaments in the country one year will not make a big difference.'' ''She was in a lot of controversy recently. She needed a break and time to recover,'' he added denying that Sania had pulled out of Bangalore Open as Globosport were not in right terms with the organisers.

To another question on whether Globosport was miffed at not being allowed to manage the Bangalore Open, Bhupathi said, ''A lot has been written. But it's not necessary that all is correct. Last year also, we were not there in that capacity. But Sania did take part.'' Asked about the proposed Mahesh Bhupathi academy here, he said, ''I went to see the land in Rajarhat New Town. The academy should be ready in a year's time. It will have four synthetic courts. '' UNI BA SJC AB GC2001

Story first published: Thursday, February 14, 2008, 20:36 [IST]
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