Tokyo: Debutant Vishnu Vardhan might have lost his match against Kei Nishikori of Japan on Sunday but he earned praise from his teammates and the rival camp for his courageous show in the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie in Tokyo.
Vardhan, playing in place of injured Somdev Devvarman, put up a brave fight before going down in straight sets against world number 55 Kei Nishikori.
"His ranking is much lower than Kei's, but he put up a good fight. He showed some nice skills and a strong serve early in the match," Japanese captain Eiji Takeuchi said.
The 24-year-old Vardhan reckons he played his best on Sunday.
"I thought I played some of the best tennis of my life today. It was awesome to be a part of this Davis Cup team. I thought I really pushed Nishikori to play better out there," Vardhan, ranked 456th, said.
India's multiple Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi also had words of praise for Vardhan.
"India threw Vishnu into the deep end today and he played a great match. Made us all on the bench real proud!!," Bhupathi wrote on his twitter page.
Bopanna, who retired in the fifth rubber due to a toe blister, also shared the same sentiment.
"Great effort shown by @vishnu_vardhan9 today in the 4th rubber, I think he played with lot of courage & attitude in his Debut. Well done," he tweeted.
Meanhwile, the Japanese captain was elated to make the World group after 26 years.
"I'm very pleased with this victory today. It has been a long time since Japan played in the World Group. I can still remember when we played the United States 27 years ago. I was 20 years old then," Takeuchi said.
Bopanna wished Japan luck for their next assignment.
"Unfortunately came up short here this time in our Davis Cup play off tie. Congrats to Japan and wish them luck in the World Group," read his tweet.