Uzbeks will be tough nut to crack: Istomin

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (UNI) The drubbing at the hands of India in 2005 is fresh in his memory, but Uzbek Davis Cupper Denis Istomin is confident that his team will come up trumps this time round.

The 185 ranked Istomin, who posed a tough challenge to Lleyton Hewitt in the second round of the Australian Open, felt his game has improved manifold and Uzbekistan would be a tough nut to crack this time.

''I was 18 years old three years ago when we got beaten by India in Jaipur. I did not have enough experience. But now I am playing more tournaments. I am playing every week. So it will be a different ball game this time,'' Istomin said.

''My serve has improved and so has my return. I am in good form.

We do not have much experience of playing on the grass court but we are having a good practice here and hopefully will play better this time,'' he added.

The 21-year-old further stated that the absence of non-playing captain Leander Paes would work to the advantage of the Uzbeks.

''Leander not playing would be an advantage for us. He has got a great record in Davis Cup. But the other guys would be challenging because they have grown up playing in grass,'' he said.

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