Paes admits there are egos in camp

Davis Cup captain Leander Paes admits his team has ego problems but says teams with egos perform better.

updated: May 10, 2008 07:53 IST
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New Delhi:

India's Davis Cup skipper Leander Paes admitted there are egos to be handled in the camp but asserted in the same breath that he still has faith in his teammates' ability to come good in the crucial tie against Japan.

"The team that has egos performs better," replied Paes, who weathered a players' revolt after the February Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan, on being asked whether all was fine within the team ahead of the crucial Asia-Oceania Zone Group I tie starting Friday.

"As an athlete you always have an ego but that also means that these guys will put their heart out when they go on court. If there is unhappiness, as a captain, I have to evolve and handle it. It's tough being a captain but the most important thing is I believe in my team," he said.

However, Mahesh Bhupathi, who led the revolt against against his former doubles partner, assured that all was well within the team.

"We have known for the past one month that we will play against Japan and we are all ready for the tie. We are all professionals," he said.

Paes, on his part, maintained that the team was still sorting out certain issues.

"Our strength is that we handle things as a team. In life you go through ups and downs but the important thing is how you handle them. We are all looking forward to winning the tie and I am sure the boys will put their best foot forward," he said.

And one of the issues that will be discussed, apart from the team composition ahead of tomorrow's draw, is whether Paes would occupy captain's chair during the matches.

"As far as I am concerned I will sit there because I am the captain," was Paes' stern reply on the issue.

Prakash Amritraj, however, said, "We will discuss it in private".

"We will discuss it with Leander," was how Bhupathi responded on the contentious matter.

Amritraj, who was at the centre of the February row after being openly criticised by Paes for being indisciplined, was guarded in his replies on the mood in the camp.

"I arrived here with the only thing in mind being to help India get into the World group. And I have not thought of anything else," he shot back when asked whether he had made any effort to reconcile.

Amid the locker room tension, the players have also had to deal with injury concerns to number one singles player Rohan Bopanna, who skipped practice on Wednesday.

"I got an MRI done on my knee last evening and skipped practice to get it treated and rest it so that I can fully fit for the tie day after," Bopanna said.

Paes, on his part, said, "Some boys need rest while some need sharpening."

And strategising for the crucial tie, a win in which will take them to the World Group playoff, Paes said though India were favourites on grass, the Japanese had also evolved into a fine team.

"I think the Japanese have a lot more depth this time. Losing to them on hard court in Osaka hurt. Their players are in good form but we are also well prepared," he said.

The Japanese, on their part, are finding it tough to deal with the Delhi heat.

"Dealing with the heat is a little bit tough. It's hot but what can you do," said their top singles player Kei Nishikori.