Bengaluru: “I used to live next door to a tennis court,” stated Farrukh Dustov matter-of-factly.
As Dustov told his story in a mere ten words, there was no hint of a smile or sarcasm in his voice. It was the plain truth said as much in earnest as with honesty. A blue collar, hard working man who keeps his head down and goes about his job.
It’s been 14 years since the 30-year-old turned pro in which he has represented Uzbekistan for 12. Grinding it out for the country alongside his more famous compatriot Denis Istomin.
“We have known each other since we were nine. There is a brotherhood (between us). There is no strategy when we play doubles. We understand each other very well,” said Dustov about his long time partner.
There will be no Istomin for the tie against India come Friday. The duo has played day in day out for their country over the past decade but the veteran feels that the upcoming crop will be up to the task.
“He has missed a Davis Cup match in a long time. Now it’s up to, not just me, all the players. The young players have no pressure because we don’t put it on them,” revealed the Uzbek.
“We have options now (Sanjar Fayziev and Temur Ismailov). Earlier, we didn’t. We had to play all three days so now we are a bit more relaxed.”
He broke the cartilage in his wrist while playing for his country against China last July. He then opted to soldier on knowing the playoff against Switzerland was the best chance for his country to make it to the World Group.
“Switzerland was the best chance we ever had. I wasn’t supposed to play even doubles but I decided I should play it. I was not in condition to play there,” he recalled.
The injury has kept him out of action until now. Now facing India for the sixth time in his career, he is aware of the immense task.
“It’s not easy to play (in Bengaluru) because of the altitude. You must play smart in these conditions. Ramkumar is a good player. I don’t know the other player but I heard he is also a good player. So it’s not going to be easy for us.”