Bangalore: Veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes on Saturday, said that the dramatic victory he pulled off along with partner Rohan Bopanna against formidable Serbians was the best comeback effort of his Davis Cup career.
Paes and Bopanna overcame a two-set deficit to beat Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bojolzac in a thrilling five-setter. "Specifically talking about doubles, this is the best I had had in Davis Cup. In singles, I have many like against Korea and many others but winning against this team, the most formidable teams, the best I have," Paes said at the post-match press conference. (Full match report)
Paes also admitted that Zimonjic having a back problem in the third set did affect the Serbians.
"It had a minimal effect on his psychology and we picked it up from there. It gave us three minutes to gather and captain (Anand) told us to slow things down, everything is going fast," he said.
Paes said he and Bopanna gelled well on court despite not having played together for long and he was looking forward to play with him at Rio Olympics in 2016.
"It's big result. We can build on this. His game and my game suits perfect."
However, Paes said he was committed to play with other partners in 2015 season and also made it clear that he will not play in the Asian Games since he has already signed to play in Kuala Lumpur.
Bopanna said Paes' passion and crowd support kept him going. "Leander thrives in situations like this. No doubt the energy was great. Crowd support was a huge factor. I started to serve much better," he said.
Non-playing captain Anand Amritraj said he expects Somdev Devvarman to play his best match tomorrow to beat Dusan Lajovic and keep India alive.
"Somdev will have to come out and play his best. He gives his 150 percent whether it a Challenger or Davis Cup. He did some mistakes in his last match and he should not be doing that tomorrow," he said.
Amritraj said today's win was the most amazing comeback he has ever seen. Meanwhile, Ilija Bozoljac said in spite of losing today's doubles, Serbia still were the favourites to clinch the tie.
"We have third day tomorrow. We are leading 2-1. We still are favourites in both singles. We have to look forward to the day tomorrow and give our best shot and try to forget this (defeat) and put it behind us and stay focused, and this is all out about Davis Cup," he said at post-match conference.
Asked whether Saturday's defeat would affect the team when they come out tomorrow to play their reverse singles, Nenad Zimonjic said this was not the first time they faced similar situation and they had come out triumphant earlier against India as well.
"This was not the first time. There were similar situations we faced earlier also, and we came up in the last day by winning last two singles. Last time when we played India it was the same scenario and won the game. I hope we can win the third match tomorrow," Zimonjic said.
Zimonjic said he suffered a neck injury during the match, which he said hampered him to play freely. "After the return on the forehand, there was a problem with my neck. I could not play 100 per cent. We gave chances for them to come back. I was restrictive," he said.
Asked if his game was affected by the three line calls he disputed in the match, Zimonjic said, "It did not affect the game. I think the linesmen were pretty good - here and there were couple of mistakes. The chair umpire should not interfere on both sides. But we made so many mistakes today. It must have affected couple of points may be."
Asked at any point of time he felt discontinuing the match, Zimonjic said, "To be honest I don't remember in my career to have stopped in the match. I tried my best but it was disappointing and frustrating at the same point."
Bozoljac said Zimonjic's injury affected the game but not his game. "It affects the game, did not affect me at all. I was trying to play my best tennis and help him as best as I could. We have ended up losing the match. Well done India. They played great," Bozoljac said.
However, Bozoljac said that they should have pocketed the match from 2-0 up, but could not understand what went wrong. "I think this should have been our match. I really don't know. Sometimes in sports these things happen. But anyway I am happy with our performance," he said.