Prakash Amritraj, who was once the country’s highest-ranked singles player, has urged the Indian Davis Cup squad members to keep their egos aside and play as a unit when they take the field against Denmark on the grass courts of the Delhi Gymkhana Club (DGC) on March 4 and 5 here.
Prakash, son of Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj, said that “special things” will happen when the players put the country’s interest first.
“It’s important to realise that it’s not about them and that it’s about something much greater than them and when one understands that, it allows the person to take the ego out, and that’s when special things happen. They (players) are a part of history and a part of all the names on the walls that came before, giving them the opportunity to be there today. All of a sudden, you bring more out of yourself than you ever thought you had,” Amritraj told the Davis Cup media.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Divij Sharan and Rohan Bopanna will complete India’s five-member line-up for the World Group play-off tie against Denmark. For the visitors, World No. 97 Holger Rune is the highest-ranked player in the team. The winner of the two-day rubber will progress to the World Group I stage, to be played later this year.
Prakash said the hosts will have their task cut out against Denmark since the visitors boast of several highly-rated players.
“The Danish team has a lot of highly-rated players. We will have our task cut out against them, even though I think we will start as favourites.”
The Indian-American former professional tennis player, whose career was abruptly cut short by a shoulder injury, informed that he’s enjoying his life as a sports presenter crisscrossing the globe.
“There are so many great things in the pipeline in tennis and I want to continue bringing to the sport that gave me so much. Even more eyeballs, more pop culture, more lifestyle, more making it fun; I want to bring even more of that to the sport and it should have lots of movies and TV, which is also a part of my dream. And look, it’s always going to be hard work, inspiration and doing things that no one thought you could do. So, if you want any of those, come in, follow me. It’s been a pleasure and something brilliant to know the regeneration of the family.”
Prakash also touched upon the controversial vaccination issue involving World No.1 tennis player and 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and told that he respects the Serb’s privacy and conviction.
“If he has reasons why he’s not going to get vaccinated, I’m not going to judge him for it because I’m not walking in those shoes. So if he makes a certain decision, just like all of us, we deal with whatever consequences those decisions are. But having said that, I think Novak was a complete victim in this entire situation because he got the paperwork he needed from the Victorian government and from the Australian Tennis Federation. If you had that paperwork, you’re okay to come into the country. And then all of a sudden this happens. He’s humiliated and that is no way to treat one of the greatest athletes of all time,” added Prakash, the former World No. 119 in doubles.