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India capable of upsetting Russia in Davis Cup: Paes

February 12, 2010 09:01 IST

Leander PaesTennis ace Leander Paes said Russia would be a tough opponent in next month's Davis Cup World Group tie but India are capable of defeating any side in the world in the prestigious team competition.

"The Russians have got a very good team, besides a home advantage. They are very tough. They have got players like Nikolay Davydenko, who recently defeated Roger Federer, Mikhail Youzhny and Marat Safin, he's retired don't know whether he'll be playing. Winning the doubles against them would be a challenge," Paes said.

"But in Davis Cup, we don't worry about rankings. We have got a developing team. We have created many upsets in the past. There is no reason why we can't create an upset this time around," said the eleven-time Grand Slam winner.

Paes was also not worried about the future of men's tennis in India.

"I feel that men's tennis in India is on the way up. The fact that we qualified for the World Group, the top 16 of the World is a tough task."

India travel to Russia to play their first round in the Davis Cup World Group from March 5-7.

Paes, who today formally joined as one of the Board of Directors of of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), floated by badminton ace Prakash Padukone and billiards champion Geet Sethi, said he was happy for the upcoming players like Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman.

"I am very happy for Yuki Bhambri. He not only won the Australian Junior Open but was also a junior number one for a long time which is not a very easy thing to do at any level. I also believe that India's Davis Cup mantle rests with Somdev," Paes said.

On his responsibility as the Board of Director of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), Paes said, "I will try to employ the knowledge I have gained travelling through the world, that's one challenge."

Asked whether his career would have been any different had he received support from an organisation like the Olympic Gold Quest, he said, "In 1992 I had to sleep in a locker room in Wolfsburg, Germany as I had only $110 in my pocket. That's your answer."

On the occasion, Padukone said, "Leander wears the tricolour on his sleeve and he never shies away from a challenge. He has an immense wealth of experience and expertise and he will be a great mentor for our athletes representing the nation."

Eight-time Billiards World Champion, Sethi said, "Leander's achievements will be of tremendous inspirational value to all Olympic Gold Quest athletes. His presence and popularity will certainly help to make Olympic Gold Quest into a nation wide movement."

Badminton ace Saina Nehwal, Boxing World Champion M C Mary Kom, and world record holder rifle shooter Gagan Narang were also present on the occasion.

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