Hosts India have been handed a huge advantage going into their Davis Cup World Group Playoff I tie against Denmark on March 4 and 5, as the World No. 90 and the visiting side's top-ranked player, Holger Rune, has confirmed his unavailability for the two-day rubber on the grass courts of the Delhi Gymkhana Club (DGC) here.
Rune, the winner of the 2019 French Open boys' singles title, was expected to spearhead the Danish challenge against India - no other player from Denmark is ranked inside the Top-200 of the ATP world rankings. The presence of the ITF Junior champion (2019) would have spiced up the proceedings at the Davis Cup, with some exciting contest expected between India's singles players Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri.
In the absence of Rune, who holds the distinction of being the second youngest male player after Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz to have featured in the Top-100, the Danish campaign will be led by seasoned doubles player, Frederik Nielsen, who has achieved a career-high ranking of 17. Rune's unavailability has definitely bolstered the hosts' chances on the DGC's fast grass courts, but the Indian coaching staff has chosen to downplay the hype.
India's non-playing captain, Rohit Rajpal, said, "Denmark team is still more than capable of doing well, despite its top player missing out on the action. We need to focus on our strengths and that will be our strategy going forward."
Coach Zeeshan Ali, too, echoed a similar sentiment. "We will stick to our plan and basics and will not underestimate the Danes in any manner, whatsoever. I am sure Denmark will still prove to be tough competitors on court."
Davis Cup matches will be played at the Gymkhana Club on March 4 and 5 inside a strict bio-secure bubble.