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New Davis Cup rules to benefit India, says Zeeshan Ali

India have got a bye in the first round, so they will play under new rules only in April when they travel to either New Zealand or China.

Reported by: PTI, New Delhi [ Published on: October 06, 2017 21:47 IST ]
Davis Cup Rules
India Davis Cup PlayersPhoto:GETTY IMAGES

The new Davis Cup rules, which will introduce three-set matches instead of best-of-five in a two-day format, will work in the favour of Indian team, reckons Davis Cup Coach Zeeshan Ali. The World Group ties remain same - best of five sets in the three-day format. The ITF Board of Directors voted to introduce the trials in all Zone Group I and II ties, starting with the first round ties in February. 

India have got a bye in the first round, so they will play under new rules only in April when they travel to either New Zealand or China. 

The two-day format will see two singles matches being played on Day 1 and doubles along with two reverse singles on Day 2. 

The ITF Board has also approved a trial to increase the size of teams in the World Group and Zone Groups I and II from four to a maximum of five players to give nations "greater flexibility in team selection". 

"It will benefit the Indian team. We do not have highly-ranked player who play five-set matches in Grand Slams regularly. And in Davis Cup, too, which is the other event apart from the Grand Slams to have five set matches, we play only about twice a year, so in the given circumstances, the new rule favours us," Zeeshan told PTI from Bangalore. 

"We will also benefit because of injury factors as there have been times our players have got injured at the last minute, a bigger team of 5 players instead of the four will give us flexibility," he added. 

India's Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi said the new rules pretty much "change the competition". 

"I mean only physically and probably makes it more exciting," was his terse reply when asked to react on the development. 

Zeeshan said having five players in the team would allow India the option of fielding a specialist doubles team. 

"We have been choosing three singles and a specialist doubles player. Now we can have a doubles team, focussed on getting that crucial point for us. We do not play our next match before next April. At the time of team selection we will need to see the ranking and fitness of the players to decide on the singles and doubles combinations," he said. 

Bhupathi jokingly said, he now has the choice to field "five singles players". 

According to the new rules, no fifth rubber will be played if the fourth rubber is decisive, the same as the current rule for the Davis Cup Final. The current rule for other ties states that the fifth rubber must be played if the fourth is decisive but less than four sets. 

If the score is 3-0, only the fourth rubber will be played, over best-of-three-sets. The current rules state that both the fourth and fifth rubbers should be played.

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