The Indian Tennis team had to deal with a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Spain in the World Group Play-offs of the Davis Cup but are seeded second in the Asia-Oceania Group 1, behind Kazakhstan.
Asia/Oceania Group-1 includes Korea Republic, New Zealand, Uzbekistan, China and Chinese Taipei. The Indian Davis Cup team will have to perform at their best against these five teams if they are to reach the World Group next season.
The differences of fitness and stamina between India and Spain were quite visible over the weekend tie. The Indians could barely give a fight against the five-time champions. The thrashing from the Spanish team was completed after the two reverse singles on Sunday, with Marc Lopez beating Sumit Nagal 6-3 1-6 6-3 and David Ferrer brushing aside Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2 6-2.
The gulf in standards among the two sides was never left for comparisons but team India's poor fitness levels were exposed in day three. The hosts were falling behind in every aspect of the game.
Among the positives, Rafael Nadal hailed Leander Paes as one of the best in the game.
He said, “He played a great match and it was amazing tennis tonight. It was a pleasure to play him in his own country. He’s one of the biggest stars in doubles and one of the best players in the history of our sport. It was great fun, pleasure to compete for both Marc and me to compete against a good team in India. The doubles was a tough match and anything could have happened.”
Spain back amongst the best
Spain were also pleased with a return to the World Group stage after a gap of two years.
"That was the main plan, to get into the world group. Very happy to finally get there. From now on we can dream bigger," said Spain's captain Conchita Martinez.
India has faced all of the above five competitors of Asia/Oceania Group 1 at home in previous fixtures except New Zealand. India can gain a home tie only if they draw New Zealand else all the other matches will be away games. India defeated New Zealand 3-2 in an away fixture in July 2015 to qualify for the World Group Play-offs.