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Less-than-friendly Reception for Israel at Davis Cup Match in India

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Israel’s national tennis team will have little support and no Israeli journalists along as it plays India’s team in Davis Cup quarterfinal competition in New Delhi Friday-Sunday.

India has allowed the Israeli team only 15 visas, according to press reports and a spokesman at the Israel Tennis Center here. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith called Monday for the issuance of more visas or postponement of the match until a neutral site is found. In fact, until last month India was unsure it would even host the match, as it has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israel qualified to play India in March by defeating the favored host Czech team three matches to two in the opening of the final round. Israel had not previously qualified for the finals, featuring the world’s top 16 teams.

The Israelis will be led on to India’s grass courts by Amos Mansdorf, ranked 32 in the world. He is expected to play two of the four singles matches as well as the doubles match.

His doubles partner and the other singles player have not yet been selected. The choices are Shlomo Glickstein, ranked 347, a successful Davis Cup veteran whose style is not suited to grass courts; Gilad Bloom, ranked 132, who won two matches on grass at the latest Wimbledon tournament; or junior player Raviv Weidenfeld, who probably will not compete.

India’s hopes rest with veteran Vijay Amitraj, an actor who now rarely competes, but who is considered an accomplished grass-court player. He’ll play singles and doubles, the latter with his brother Anan. Ramesh Krishnan, ranked 39 and best known for his impeccable form, will play singles.

Because the match is taking place in India in extremely hot weather, barring a monsoon, and on a surface on which the Israelis have little experience, tennis experts give India a slight edge. The victor will play the winner of the Australia Mexico match. Australia, featuring Wimbledon singles champion Pat Cash, is heavily favored to reach the finals.

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