Indian tennis player and Grand Slam winner Rohan Bopanna has not taken kindly to AITA’s decision to appoint a new captain without waiting for the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) final verdict on the venue. The India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie, which was supposed to be played in Islamabad on November 29-30, was moved to a new venue on Tuesday, following which the parent body named Rohit Rajpal new captain, in place of Mahesh Bhupathi, who pulled out of the Pakistan tour, citing safety concerns.
“Contrary to the incessant beliefs and actions of AITA and their manner of functioning, when it comes to the decisions they make in context to the ‘player’s best interests’; with my years of experience and representation – I would like for the system to know that a player’s best interest is when the players are heard. And in this case, at least informed. When we bring our patriotism on court with raquet (sic) in hand, we also bring a voice,” Bopanna wrote.
AITA selected Rajpal roughly hours after the ITF’s move to relocate the tie, whereas Bhupathi’s term as non-playing captain has expired in December 2018, although he was given an extension to lead the team against Italy earlier this year in February. Bopanna’s concern however was regarding the timing of the decision, since it was taken before the ITF opted to move the venue.
“It surprises me that AITA changed the Davis Cup captain before ITF announced the final decision yesterday (04.11.19) and where the tie would be held,” Bopanna’s statement read. What shocks me more is that none of the players were asked or even informed that the captain was going to be changed.”
Responding to Bopanna’s comments, AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee said players’ job is to play and not interfere in administrative matters.
“They are behaving according to their convenience. “They have no right to ask question” on areas which are outside players’ domain. Their job is to play. Who is he (Bopanna) to ask such questions? There is (AITA) administration to look into these matters,” Kolkata-based Chatterjee told PTI. “As far as AITA is concerned, it’s we who have to take a call. He is not supposed to interfere.”