In a gesture that was befitting of the occasion, the Indian Davis Cup team led by captain Rohit Rajpal and senior veteran Leander Paes dedicated their 4-0 tie win over Pakistan to Indian armed forces and their families. The build-up to this tie was uncertain, controversial and divided with India refusing to play in Pakistan due to security concerns and the All India Tennis Association later removing former non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi for Rohit Rajpal after the former refused to travel to Pakistan.
Eventually, though the tie was shifted and played at the neutral venue of Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The tie in itself was a simple affair for India with Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal winning their opening singles and Paes and debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan finishing it off in the doubles match.
Paes, who was not part of the last two ties, in fact, extended his own doubles streak in Davis Cup to 44 doubles wins. Dedicating the win to Indian forces, who guard the borders and protect India especially from state-sponsored terror from Pakistan, Rajpal said, "We discussed amongst us and we all feel very strongly about dedicating our victory to the armed forces and especially those families who have lost their loved ones while they protected our families at the border and across the country. We will like to dedicate this to the army."
India coach Zeeshan Ali was all praise for the young team that was sans senior Rohan Bopanna and some other regulars. "Boys have been working hard, putting in all the effort and the results showed that. Everybody did a great job including support staff and especially the new captain Rohit."
While the young Pakistan team was not much of a challenge for India, the win was key because it takes India to the crucial Qualifiers in the new modified Davis cup structure against two-time champions Croatia on March 6 and 7, 2020. Twelve countries have the chance to earn a spot in the 2020 Finals after winning the qualifiers.