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first_imgIndia will play Italy in the Davis Cup World Group qualifying tie on February 1 and 2, 2019, at home.With the format of the tournament being overhauled recently, India are lucky to have a got a home tie. Italy were seeded for the draw, held at the International Tennis Federation headquarters in London, on Wednesday.The last time India and Italy played was over two decades ago in Genoa, a World Group tie where the hosts won.”We are playing Italy after a long and a home tie is welcome. We will have to discuss with the players and the federation (AITA) where to play,” said non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi.Italy are a much stronger side on paper and have around half a dozen players ranked in the Top 100 of ATP rankings. Basically, Italian players have strong legs and good on clay, a surface they play on regularly.For India to choose the surface would need to be a smart decision. In the eras gone by, grass was the obvious choice at home. Be it the Krishnan era, or the Amrtiraj era and when Leander Paes dominated Davis Cup, low bounce grass was the obvious choice.With a player like Ramkumar Ramanathan loving the serve-and-volley style, and possibly Yuki Bhambri also comfortable on grass, India may look at green options at the Delhi Gymkhana Club, South Club in Kolkata. or Chandigarh’s Sector 10.AITA sources said they would talk to the players and then decide on possible choice of venue. “Hard courts are ruled out,” said a top AITA source.advertisementThe tie will be played on Friday and Saturday, comprising four singles and one doubles. Matches will be played on best of three sets.last_img

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