What’s the story?
Veteran tennis player Leander Paes has been selected in the playing squad for India's Davis Cup qualification tie against Croatia, which is to be held in Zagreb from March 6-7.
In case you didn't know...
The two-day tie will follow the best-of-three-sets format in accordance with the revamped Davis Cup structure.
24 teams will be taking part in the qualifiers, out of which the 12 winning teams will advance to the Finals - which will be held at the end of 2020. The 12 losing teams, meanwhile, will play in the World Group 1.
Spain are the reigning Davis Cup champions, having triumphed in Madrid late last year.
Also Checkout: The Davis Cup 2020 Schedule
The heart of the matter
Paes, who is the only tennis player in the world to have made seven Olympic appearances, is in the final year of his professional career. He and Rohan Bopanna will serve as the doubles specialists for the tie against Croatia, while Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan will play in the singles category.
Paes being named to the starting lineup means Divij Sharan, who has represented the country in quite a few Davis Cup ties, will only be a reserve member this time around.
India's team captain Rohit Rajpal told PTI: “Paes has done well this season. He beat Divij in Pune during the Tata Open Maharashtra and also reached the final of the Bengaluru Open Challenger. So he is in good form.
"Also, 2020 is his last season, he deserves highest respect for serving the country for 30 years. Divij also felt the same. The team is on the same page," Rajpal added.
This is only the second instance when India and Croatia will compete against each other in the Davis Cup. Coincidentally, Paes was part of the team when the two countries clashed for the first time, back in 1995 in New Delhi - where India emerged as winners.
It will be interesting to see if Paes can repeat history and pull off yet another win against the mighty Croatians, and in the process help India qualify for the Davis Cup Finals.