Double delight: Sanam, Vijayant in Davis Cup squad

For the first time, two tennis players from Chandigarh have made it to the Indian Davis Cup squad at the same time. Sanam Singh and Vijayant Malik - both who have represented India individually in the Davis Cup on previous occasions - have been named in the squad for the upcoming Asia/Oceania Zone Group I relegation play-off first round tie against Indonesia that will be held from April 5 to 7 in Bangalore.

Singh had played during the 5-0 routing of New Zealand in Chandigarh, while injured Malik went down fighting his Republic of Korea opponent in the recent tie-breaker match that was played in Delhi.

While Singh's inclusion was expected, given his excellent form where he raked a couple of International Tennis Federation futures titles last year, Malik's entry to the Indian team came as a surprise. Malik has been named in the reserves along with N Sriram Balaji.

"I was not expecting a call for the Davis Cup team. I came to know about the development very late in the evening on Saturday. It is always a terrific feeling to be called for national duty," said Malik, who is a former Chandigarh Academy for Rural Tennis trainee at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA). He left CLTA one-and-half years ago and moved to Siri Fort in Delhi for training.

Sanam, along with other top Indian players, including Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri and Vishnu Vardhan, had revolted against the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and decided not to make themselves available for the Korea tie.

In their absence, AITA had decided to give chance to newcomers, including Malik. But now, since the AITA has agreed to most of the demands of the players, singles specialists Devvarman, Bhambri and Malik have returned to the squad. Devvarman and Bhambri will lead the Indian challenge in the singles, while Malik will partner Leander Paes for the only doubles rubber.

Experienced campaigners like Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna have been snubbed by the AITA. Also, S P Misra was retained as the non-playing captain, but the Indonesia tie will be his last.

Singh is at present participating in the futures and challengers events in Australia.

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