One year after being with the Indian team in Espoo, Finland, I was so flattered that it was Davis Cup time again. This time, the team is traveling abroad the clear underdog, as Norway have had an amazing tennis year 2022, just reaching its peak with Ruud’s US Open Final loss in Men’s Singles. Nonetheless, the trip promised to have a very interesting sportive perspective: Norway chose to host India in Lillehammer, home of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games – and even the venue has a nice Olympic history. The tie was the first time these countries clashed against each other in an Open Era tie.
The Tennis Davis Cup coverage from Lilliehammer is done in collaboration with
This posting, however, is an individual one and does not necessarily represent the ITD opinion.
In 2019 or 2020, a tie between India and Norway would have been a rather clear favorite role for the Asian nation. However, times have changed significantly – and that is closely linked to one name; Casper Ruud.
No doubt: the pressure of havint to lead the team to a victory for the host nation lies on Casper Ruud. The Norwegian tennis star caused a massive interest in the sports after reaching the US Open and French Open finals in 2022, traveling to Lillehammer as the second-best player of the world, according to the ranking. He likely has to take over doubles duties as well, depending on the first day results. Also the second player in the squad of Anders Haseth is a quite clear choice: Viktor Durasovic is ranked #325 in singles, #224 in doubles. The only other Norwegian player with an ATP ranking is 21 year old Lukas Hellum Lilleengen, who is beyond rank 1000 in both, singles and doubles. Haseth added two young players to the squad, 20 year old Herman Hoeyeraal and 1999-born Simen Sunde Bratholm.
India has to suffer the withdrawal of doubles specialist and 42 year old tennis legend Rohan Bopanna (ATP Doubles #21). However, three of the other Indian players in the squad are Top-110 in this discipline and should take a favorite role there. In singles, however, highest ranked player is offensive player Ramkumar Ramanathan (ATP Singles #276), who is also the highest ranked doubles player in the squad lead by Rohit Rajpal. The other singles options for the team are likely Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ATP #335) and Yuki Bhambri (ATP #552), whose ranking is also impacted by a couple of serious injuries. Bhambri also had some good success in doubles alongside #96-ranked Saketh Myneni, who is having quite some Davis Cup experience as well. 25-year old Sasikumar Mukund is (relatively) the young gun in the squad and may especially be an option for singles. Finally, India however added Sumit Nagal to their squad, in contrast to original nominations.
Lillehammer – The Host City
1994 – that’s the year when the world fell in love with the city of Lillehammer in the Innlandet district of Norway. The Olympic Games were memorable with short distances between the venues. Practically all Olympic venues in and around Lillehammer are still used for sports, by the way – which is very unique compared to the nowadays waste of resources at Summer and Winter Games. The city, which is an about 100 minute non-transfer train ride away from Oslo, is thereby only the 38th largest city in Norway, hosting less than 30,000 locals (according to Wikipedia). The local organization teams definitely wanted to make sure that everybody knows that India is coming (or is there another reason to watch the tie? 😉 ) – there are banners all over city center. Excellent work – I haven’t spotted a single one in Finland outside arena grounds last year.
Hakons Hall – The Venue
Sports fans know Håkons Hall, which is located right in the Lillehammer Olympic Park.The name is coming from a former Norwegian King, Haakon Haakonarson. The 11,500 capacity arena hosted Olympic ice hockey matches and is still the largest arena specialized for this sports and handball in the country. For the Davis Cup, however, the Norwegian hosts just use a limited capacity on one side of the venue
The Tie – Day -2 Press Conference
I hate press conference anyway – and while the organizers really did a great job and the place looks really well prepared, the hosting of the press conferences of the teams on Wednesday was rather near the knuckle. This finally lead to the situation that Rohit Rajpal reminded the host that India is a “three time finalist” (pointing on India’s Davis Cup history), which the guy repeated as “three time Grand Slam finalist”. Just to clarify it in here: India has won 37 Grad Slam titles in the Open Era, while the Norwegian statistic here is quite exactly 37 titles below… There is a non-Open Era title dated as of 1915. A small “scandal” – there have been Davis Cup ties in the past, where these kind of situations lead to real trouble. They, by the way, felt to have Rohan Bopanna somehow…
Norway vs. India – The Draw
I was really looking forward to the draw ceremony at the Maihaugen Open Air Museum, as the organizers had announced initially. However, they finally don’t leave the venue for the ceremony. From a sportsman position, the draw is quite lousy anyway (it just determines the order of play on Day 1 nowadays), so that this was bearable. The really interesting thing about the draw ceremony was rather which players would be nominated, especially as Indian singles players. The Asians went for Ramanathan and Gunneswaran there. As expected,, Norway trusted their top players
The draw lead to the following schedule:.
|Fr 18:00||Casper Ruud||Prajnesh Gunneswaran|
|followed by||Viktor Durasovic||Ramkumar Ramanathan|
|Sa 14:00||Casper Ruud /
|Yuki Bhambri /
|followed by||Casper Ruud||Ramkumar Ramanathan|
|followed by||Viktor Durasovic||Prajnesh Gunneswaran|
In fact, here are the matches played and the respective scores:
|Fr 18:00||Casper Ruud||Prajnesh Gunneswaran||6-1 6-4|
|followed by||Viktor Durasovic||Ramkumar Ramanathan||6-1 6-4|
|Sa 14:00||Casper Ruud /
|Yuki Bhambri /
|6-3 3-6 6-3|
|followed by||Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen||Sumit Nagal||2-6 1-6|
Norway vs. India Davis Cup 2022 – Galleries
All Flyctory.com pictures from Lillehammer will be gathered in a dedicated gallery group in the sports galleries. I will add links here once I started to put (match and practice) pictures to galleries:
- Singles #1: Casper Ruud – Prajnesh Gunneswaran
- Singles #2: Viktor Durasovic – Ramkumar Ramanathan
- Doubles: Ruud/Durasovic – Bhambri/Myneni
- Singles #3: Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen – Sumit Nagal
Flyctory.com and Norway
Here are all Flyctory.com postings related to Norway: