Ace tennis coach Akhtar Ali believes Purav Raja's lack of "big-match" experience proved to be the reason India failed to get the better of Canada in the doubles encounter of the ongoing Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie in Edmonton.
India currently trail 1-2 courtesy the doubles team of Rohan Bopanna and Raja losing to Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 5-7, 5-7, 7-5, 3-6 earlier on Saturday.
The visitors will now have to win both the reverse singles in order to win the tie.
"It will be tough for India from here," Ali told IANS on the sidelines of the prize distribution ceremony of the Calcutta Hard Court Tennis Tournament here.
"I feel Purav's lack of big-match experience proved to be vital. It was a close game and we fought hard," he said.
In the reverse singles, Ramkumar Ramanathan will take on talented teenager Denis Shapovalov while Yuki Bhambri will meet Brayden Schnur.
"Ramkumar is a good player. Let's see. But it will be an uphill task," Ali, member of the Indian Davis Cup for a long time, said.
Ramkumar had defeated Schnur in a tough four-setter in the opening match of the play-off to give India a 1-0 lead.
The 22-year-old had used his experience to sweep aside Canadian debutant 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5 in a bitterly fought contest which lasted three hours and 16 minutes.
Asked if Leander Paes, dropped by non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi, would have made a difference with his wealth of experience, Ali said:" I don't think so. This team is good."
Ali was felicitated by the Calcutta South Club executive committee for his enormous contribution toward the club and Indian tennis.
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