Chandigarh: Yuki Bhambri's unconvincing win over New Zealand's Jose Statham has left much to be desired as India's non-playing captain, SP Misra, felt that the country's best singles player did not look focused in the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup relegation play-off tie.
A profligate Yuki squandered a number of chances in the Asia/Oceania Group I match, which lasted two hours and 41 minutes at the CLTA grounds here yesterday.
"Strangely, he was not focused. He was playing well only in patches," Misra said after India whitewashed the Kiwis 5-0.
However, he was not too worried with the inconsistency of the 20-year old, and hoped that he would come back strongly. "He looked solid against Uzbekistan. May be mentally, being the number one player, troubled him. But he will come around, I am sure."
Misra was pleased with the overall outcome. "The boys had prepared well. They were focused on the job. They performed well in the tie," he said.
The conditions were expected to suit the Indian squad but the hosts struggled to cope with the hot weather. Yuki struggled in yesterday's match as he suffered cramps before completing a 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) win.
Misra felt the conditions were tough but his players handled it better than the Kiwis.
Sanam Singh, who came out all guns blazing by scoring India's first straight set win, said, "Yuki was shaky on day one but gave us a good start. These are not easy conditions. And you can't take away today's win from Yuki."
Asked how he moves so fast on the court, he quipped, "I am smaller in the side."
Talking about his match, Sanam said, "I am pretty happy. I had my chances in the first set. I opened up in the second. I am satisfied."
The diminutive local lad said the conditions have become more challenging at the CLTA.
"I was born and brought up here. It's hotter than ever, specially in September. More than the heat, it is humidity."
Sanam is still struggling to find a sponsor.
"I had signed up with Globosport but could not get any sponsor. I am on my own. The government help during the Olympics helped me a lot," he said.
Yuki said he was not pleased with the way he played as had to dig deep into his resources for the win. "I won't say I am happy but glad that India won the tie. It's certainly not the best tennis that I have played."
Coach Nandan Bal, however, backed Yuki and said his fitness stood him in good stead. "He is fit. If anyone says Yuki is unfit, I will take an exception to that. He has put on 10 kgs in the last two years and it's all muscles. Every player goes through this. I have seen him working in the gym. He is very committed," he said.