Ashutosh hopeful of making to Davis Cup team

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Kolkata, Dec 18 (UNI) Strapping Delhi-lad Ashutosh Singh, in the midst of his finest tennis form, today hoped to make a cut to the Davis Cup team to play Uzbekistan in Delhi in February.

'' This has clearly been my best year. I was selected to represent the country in the Indo-Pak series. Playing in the Futures and ATP Challengers is just like a routine affair for any tennis player, but when you represent the country, it's a different feeling and I still bask in the glory of that, '' he said.

Compared to others in the circuit, he was believed to have passed his prime time because of age. '' I am 25. Despite that, I have a gut feeling that I can make the cut for the Davis Cup. Whoever does well in the grasscourt championship stands a better chance of getting into the squad, '' he said.

Fifth among Indians on the latest ranking list at 540, Ashutosh had jumped 44 places after making the final of the ,000 ITF Futures event at Lahore in October, in which he missed three match points at 6-3 in the final set tie-break.

'' Earlier, my ranking was around 700. I improved a lot last year, entering the final of three Futures meets. But the memorable one was in Morocco, where I knocked out Prakash, '' he said after a practice session with Divanshu Singh at South Club today.

Tennis had always been his first love. '' It's a motivation in itself, you may say. My grandfather Jaynarayan was a tennis coach, father Balaram a Davis Cupper and sister Shalini Thakur was a former national tennis champion.

'' Naturally, it is the passion and love for the game, which keeps me going, '' he said.

After this championship, he might leave for Chennai to take part in the Chennai Open. The men's winner here gets a wild card to the championship.

'' I wish to be there, but it depends on a few things whether I can live up to the expectations, '' he said.

Incidentally Ashutosh Singh won his singles match with consummate ease against Kaushik Das of Assam 6-1, 6-1.

UNI

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