Bops-Hesh axed from Davis squad
Paes pulls out of New Zealand tie
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Saturday dropped veterans Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna and went ahead with a young team for India’s Davis Cup Asia-Oceania first round relegation play-off match against New Zealand from September 14-16.
The axing was a disciplinary action against Bopanna and Bhupathi because of their stand of playing together in the London Olympics rather than heeding to the selection of the AITA.
Leander Paes requested to be relieved as he was scheduled to play in the World Team Tennis Championship in Charleston, that overlapped with the home tie, and last Grand Slam of the year, US Open.
Somdev Devvarman after his first round loss in the London Olympics felt his shoulder needed more rest. He, however, is looking to play in the US Open to protect his ranking.
The selection row before the Olympics has also prompted the AITA to draft a code of conduct on the lines of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which will include players as well officials. Any further action on the two players will be decided at the executive committee meeting on September 15 in Chandigarh.
“The code of conduct will first be brought in front of our ethics committee which will meet before the executive committee. On the basis of that, a final decision will be taken on the two players,” AITA secretary-general Bharat Oza said.
The message was clear. The players have to respect the decision of the selection committee.
“Sports Ministry had asked to take an action once the Olympics gets over. Yes, the two had qualified as a team for the Olympics, but the manner in which everything happened was wrong. We did not want to punish them at that time on sympathetic grounds,” Oza said.
“Taking an action was necessary. It would have, otherwise, set a wrong trend. If two players wish to play together, they need to inform AITA about it.”
Captain SP Misra, meanwhile, is aware that it will not be easy for the youngsters, with none of them having the experience of playing five sets.
“We will do the best we can. We will soon be practicing, so that we are prepared by the time the tie begins. Obviously, our job would have become easier if we had Somdev and Leander with us. But it is a good chance for the youngsters,“ Misra told Deccan Herald.
While Yuki Bhambri will be the first singles player, it will be tricky for Misra to zero in on the second singles player. He has options in Vishnu Vardhan and Sanam Singh.
For doubles, it will come to who can be the best choice to partner left-hander Divij Sharan, who has done well in the recent Challenger events.
The winner of the tie will stay in Group I in the region.