Former Davis Cup captain Jaidip Mukerjea said on Friday that the entire episode of India’s tie against Pakistan was badly handled by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and that the way they treated Mahesh Bhupathi, it left a bad taste for the sport.
India’s Asia/Oceania Group 1 Davis Cup match versus Pakistan is slated to be held on November 29-30. Legendary Leander Paes returned to the Indian Davis Cup team after more than a year as an eight-member squad was picked on Thursday for the tie.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifted the venue from Islamabad after AITA’s request but since Pakistan Tennis Federation challenged the decision, it said it will review their appeal.
Bhupathi, India’s non-playing captain, did not want to travel to Islamabad due to security reasons and was later removed from his role with Rohit Rajpal taking over. Bhupathi challenged the decision but the AITA remained firm on their stance.
“I think Bhupathi was badly treated. They should have asked him to leave earlier itself, it could’ve been communicated properly. It leaves a bad taste for Indian tennis,” Mukerjea said on the sidelines of the announcement of the fourth edition of Premjit Lall Invitational Tennis Tournament here.
“AITA has done what it thought was best. Safety and security of our players is a big issue. But what baffled me was the way AITA handled stars like Paes and Bhupathi. They could have handled this in a better way.
“I’ve observed that when Paes gets selected, Bhupathi is left out and vice versa. This has been happening for the last 10-15 years. This is not good for Indian tennis,” the 77-year-old said.
Premjit Lall Invitational Tennis Tournament will have a Rs 5.7 lakh prize purse and will take place from December 5-8 where former India No 1 Somdev Devvarman will be seen in action for the first time since calling it a day in 2017.
This year it will be played in a round-robin format with four designated teams in fray, comprising two players and a captain. Sania Mirza will also be present on the opening day as the mentor.