Canada team is stronger than the Czech Republic in 2015: Mahesh Bhupathi

Indian Founder and Managing Director of The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Mahesh Bhupathi looks on during a press conference in New Delhi on November 27, 2015. / AFP / Chandan Khanna
Vastavam web: Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi says the Canada team, which has ‘future star’ Denis Shapovalov in the line-up, is stronger than the Czech Republic side to which India had lost in the play-offs stage in 2015.The Indian team, which had a week-long training camp in New York before reaching Edmonton, is set to make a fourth consecutive attempt to qualify for the elite World Group.Canada have named world number 51 Shapovalov, who reached the US Open fourth round, Vasek Pospisil (82) along with seasoned Daniel Nestor (43 in doubles) and Brayden Schnur (202) for the play-off tie, starting Friday.
“Canada is a quality team but of course we are here because we earned the chance to play them. I personally think they are a stronger team than the Czechs when they came to India,” Bhupathi told PTI from Edmonton.Shapovalov has made quite a splash with his performance in the last few weeks. Before making the US Open fourth round as a qualifier, the 18-year-old had shocked Nadal en route the semifinals of the Montreal Masters.Bhupathi said going to the University of Columbia in New York for the camp has helped the team prepare better for the indoor tie.
“The week of practice indoors has helped the team. The boys have hit a lot of balls and are feeling good, so we are looking forward to the weekend,” he said. Bhupathi, who replaced Anand Amritraj in the captain’s chair early this year, said the recent success of both Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanthan against high-quality rivals is a tremendous confidence booster.”Both Yuki and Ram have had very good summers so they have a lot of matches under their belt. Rohan, of course, made the final in Montreal and is a leader in this team. Saketh is getting better every week, it’s always hard to come back from a long injury layoff but he is committed,” Bhupathi said, giving his assessment of the team.
Yuki had to endure tough times after breaking the top-100 barrier late in 2015 due to injuries but has done well this season. Ramkumar was also struggling initially this year but has shaken off the rust to come out stronger.”(I am) sure they do (work very hard). It’s heading in the right direction,” the 43-year-old Bhupathi, India’s first ever Grand Slam winner, said.Bhupathi also felt that India can produce top-10 players like other Asian nations.