In September 1995, India faced Croatia in the first round of the qualifying draw at the Davis Cup. Two Indians and two Croatians squared off against each other in five thrilling rubbers. The tie eventually swung in the way of the hosts, as they emerged victorious on the grass courts of National S.C. at New Delhi.
The 2020 Davis Cup qualifiers and seeded teams were recently announced. Croatia, who won the title in 2018, will be the top seed for the event. As India defeated archrivals Pakistan on Saturday in the 2019 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I. As winners, they will now move on to face top seed Croatia on the other side of the net in the 2020 Davis Cup qualifiers.
A rich history
Now when everyone knows that India is going to face Croatia in 2020, it takes us back to the inspirational tennis produced by the dynamic duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in 1995.
Paes began on a positive note, defeating Sasa Hariszon in straight sets. The win was followed by a defeat for Bhupathi. He fell to the then World No.7 Goran Ivanisevic in straight sets. The doubles rubber gave India the edge yet again as Lee-Hesh defeated the Croatians in four sets.
India led 2-1, and a win for World No.123 Leander Paes against Ivanisevic would settle the tie in the way of Indians. The dream looked grim as Ivanisevic raced to a 2-0 lead, moving just one set away from levelling the tie at 2-2. However, Paes had different plans. The ignition of ablaze was such that the Indian took the next three sets, to win the match and the tie. The match still stays as one of the most memorable events in the history of Indian tennis. Moreover, the win promoted India to the World Group of the 1996 Davis Cup where they finished as the quarterfinalists.
Since that tie, the Croatians have been crowned as the Davis Cup champions twice. Croatia are now spearheaded by Marin Cilic and Borna Coric. This will be a huge mountain to scale for India. Moreover, the 2020 tie will be an away tie for India. The match against Croatia will be played on 6th and 7th March 2020.