The All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection committee has decided to keep veteran Leander Paes in the five-member playing squad for the Davis Cup tie against Croatia. Divij Sharan will be the reserve member. "He has been kept in the squad," a source close to the development said. An official announcement will be made later.
The national federation had to submit the final list of players to the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Initially, a six-member squad was announced. The Qualifiers tie will be held in Zagreb on the hard courts on March 6-7. Croatia is the top-seeded team in the 24-team Qualifiers. The 12 winners will qualify for the Davis Cup Finals while the losing sides will be placed in the World Group I.
While Sumit Nagal, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will play the singles, Paes and Rohan Bopanna will be there for the doubles. Paes and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan had played in the last tie against Pakistan, in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan after Bopanna got injured and Sharan was busy with his wedding ceremony.
Paes, who will be bidding adieu to tennis at the end of this year, reached the final of the Bengaluru Open Challenger with his Australian partner Mathew Ebden and also beat Sharan in the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune.