There was commotion in the players’ lounge area, as the Uzbekistan Davis Cup team rushed in. It had barely been 30 minutes when the visiting squad from the Central Asian nation was forced off court by rain. Their first practice session under lights was called off, but that was the least of their concerns. An hour earlier, the team present in Bangalore for the second round Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie were informed that their spearhead, world number 71 Denis Istomin, would not be making the trip due to an injury to his left heel.
“He got it at Indian Wells, tried to shake if off at the Miami Open last week, just couldn’t happen,” says Valera Lim, team manager. Mainly a journeyman, Istomin had come into the spotlight after upsetting world number 2 Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January.
Bhupathi merely shrugs off the information. “The way they (Uzbekistan) have been preparing here, they had already come with their reserve player, we knew he was not going to come,” he says. “But the tie is pretty much open now because Yuki (Bhambri) is out for us, Istomin for them. Both teams have young players. So it’s pretty even.”
The Uzbeks too seemed unperturbed, as they warmed up ahead of their evening session on the hard courts of the KSLTA Stadium. There wasn’t any apparent panic in the Uzbek camp, which includes 18-year-old Jurabek Karimov – the 2016 Junior Australian Open runner-up – as Istomin’s replacement. shahid judge(SPORTS EXPRESS,2017).