Starting the proceedings on Day 2 after being 0-2 down, Ramkumar Ramanthan and Rohan Bopanna fought a close match against the Finland team of Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliövaara before bowing out with a scoreline of 6-7(2) 6-7(2).
Rohan Bopanna spoke to ITD and Indian Express after the match to share his thoughts
Thoughts on the match
The main difference between the teams was that they are used to playing at a higher level together. It was the first time together for Ramkumar and me. Sometimes when it came to close situations, it did make a difference.
At the end of the day, if the team is 2-0 up, it always gives them the edge. We were going in knowing that we had to win to stay in the tie.
Overall we played great considering that it was the first time that we were playing together. We had couple of chances in the first set. In the second set, we were a breakup but we let it slip away. Then we were 0-40 up on Harri`s serve but credit to them, they played well on the crucial points.
They were definitely the better team in the tie breakers.
How do you look forward from here?
It is a lot of learning that we take from all these ties. Of course we knew coming in here that it’s going to be a tough tie. The first tie was important – if we had won that and the way Ramkumar Ramanathan plays, coming in and putting the pressure on the opponent – it could have given a different dimension to the tie.
Having said that, we have to take the positives from this tie, keep believing in it as a team. We lacked that belief at times to be honest.
What was the thought process after we went 0-2 down?
We all sat down and had our discussions on what needs to be done. The final call is taken by the captain ofcourse. They thought that Ramkumar and me were the team to play today. I do think that Ramkumar and me were the right team chosen by the coach and the captain. Unfortunately it did not go our way. It was the first time that Ramkumar is playing a Davis Cup doubles match with me. He was serving and returning really well – doing what he does best.
To lose the match in 2 tie-breakers means that you had some chances. It could have easily gone the other way. Overall, whether we win or lose, we have to work together as a team.
We only have one player in the top-100 of the doubles rankings now. Your thoughts on the future here.
4 out of the 5 points come from singles. At the end of the day, that is where we have to focus on – singles. It has been 6 years that an Indian player has defeated someone higher ranked than him in Davis Cup singles. This is something that we need to look at and make the change.
We just need to have a good structure back home in India. We need to have a good program for the younger generation to follow through. Cricket does well because it has a fantastic structure. Every sport in India needs something similar.
Tennis is a very expensive sport, it is not easy to do it yourself. The federation and the government need to be hand in hand together to make that difference. Thats when we can say that there was a team effort and its still not working out. Right now, Tennis in India is an individual effort and we are trying to make it on our own which is extremely difficult.
India finds itself in the WG I Playoffs now. How do you tackle such kind of situation?
If we are not going to win matches, unfortunately, thats where we are going to be. The Davis Cup format used to be different – we used to be in the Asia Oceania group where we were always one of the strongest teams.
With the format change, we played against a strong Finland team – we put in the work but we could not get through.
In the playoffs, we have to focus on doing our best. Most importantly, focus on getting the singles win – first day is important – being 2-0 or 0-2, the mentally is totally different.
Photos from the tie – Courtesy Finland Tennis Association