India will be hoping for an inspired performance against Novak Djokovic-less Serbia in their Davis Cup World Group Play-off starting Friday at Kraljevo.
Both the sides are without their respective top-ranked players – Yuki Bhambri for India and US Open champion Djokovic for Serbia. But it's an open secret that the Serbians, seeded seventh, are the overwhelming favourites.
But, the team of Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran N Sriram Balaji and Rohan Bopanna will be keen to keep the Indian spirits high in this inconsequential tie on the first day of the tie.
Ramanathan will play the opening rubber against Laslo Djere, while Gunneswaran will take on Dusan Lajovic, who is the highest ranked singles player in the tie, at 56.
On the second day, Bopanna and Balaji will take on Nikola Milojevic and debutant Danilo Petrovic in the doubles rubber.
It will be followed by the reverse singles, to be played later on Sunday, with Ramkumar taking on Lajovic and Prajnesh locking horns with Djere.
Saketh Myneni is the fifth playing member of the squad and talented Arjun Kadhe is there as a reserve player.
This is the fifth meeting between the two teams. Serbia won the last meeting in Bengaluru in 2014. Djokovic, then the world number one, skipped the tie.