The Indian Davis Cup team will train at the indoor courts of University of Colombia in New York, a week before the crucial World Group Play-off tie against Canada in Edmonton, starting September 15.
It is for the first time that a camp has been organised to prepare for an away tie. The team will assemble in New York on September 4 and will leave for Edmonton on September 10.
“I wanted to get the boys together and practice indoors before the tie,” captain Mahesh Bhupathi said, confirming the development.
The AITA has approached the Sports Ministry to fund the week-long training camp and it is being assessed. The ministry seems keen to provide the financial support.
“There should not be any problem with that (financial assistance) because we do fund training of athletes, including foreign training. However, a decision will be taken after examination of the proposal,” a Sports Ministry official said.
Asked why the camp is being organized in New York instead of Edmonton, Bhupathi said,”Courts will not be ready till Sunday (September 10) before tie.”
It will be fourth straight year that India will be in contention for a place in the elite 16-nation World Group.
India lost to Spain (2016), Czech Republic (2015) and Serbia (2014) in their last three attempts at home.
The last time India played an away World Group Play-Off tie was against Japan in 2011, when it lost 1-4 to the hosts.
“It makes sense to have this camp since Canada is far away. The players will be jet-lagged and would require a long recovery period. To get the players acclimatised to the conditions, it’s a positive step,” India’s Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali said.
“It will be second week of US Open in New York when we will be training there, so there is a good chance to get quality players to practice with other Indian players. Only Rohan and Yuki Bhambri will be there (US Open) and others will have to travel to New York from Asian territory. The more we practice, the better for us,” Zeeshan added.
Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni will be back in the team, having missed the Uzbekistan tie in Bengaluru in April this year.
They have already started playing on the Challenger circuit after recovering from their respective injuries.
Prajnesh Gunneswran and N Sriram Balaji, who made their Davis Cup debuts in Bengaluru, are likely to be reserve members.
The coach felt that if World No 10 Milos Raonic does not turn up for the tie, India have a good chance to get back to World Group. Raonic lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-final this year.
“We want to be ready if he does not play, so this camp will help us prepare better.”
The last time India featured in World Group was in 2011 when the team lost 1-4 to powerhouse Serbia in the first round.