Rohan Bopanna on Tuesday expressed his displeasure at players not being consulted before changing Mahesh Bhupathi as non-playing captain for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan while AITA asserted that it was not players' domain to comment on policy matters. The tie against Pakistan, which was supposed to be played in Islamabad on November 29-30, will now be played on a neutral venue. Incidentally, Bopanna along with five others had pulled out the Pakistan tour, citing safety concerns.
Shocking decision by AITA. (All India Tennis Federation) pic.twitter.com/X7Z6Z4BqYQ— Rohan Bopanna (@rohanbopanna) November 5, 2019
With captain Bhupathi also pulling out for the same reason, AITA went ahead and named Rohit Rajpal as new captain for the tie at its Executive Committee on Monday in Chandigarh.
It must be mentioned in this regard that Bhupathi's term as the non-playing captain had already got over in December 2018 and he was given an extension to lead the side in the tie against Italy in February this year in Kolkata.
Bopanna's contention is that All India Tennis Association (AITA) changed the captain before ITF made a final decision on a neutral venue.
AITA picked Rajpal for the job on Monday, hours before ITF shifted the tie out of Islamabad as the national federation had requested multiple times.
"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 said in a statement posted on his twitter handle.
"What shocks me more that none of the players were asked or even informed that the captain was going to be changed," Bopanna wrote.
It's the Executive Committee of the AITA which decides on selecting captain.
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."
Bopanna in his statement further wrote that "there is much more to them than just the skill they bring on the court."
"Player's best interest is when players' are heard. When we bring our patriotism on court with racquet in hand, we also bring a voice," he wrote.
Bopanna had pulled out of the tie against Spain also in September 2016, citing a knee injury.
Asked if Bopanna will still be considered for the tie against Pakistan, Chatterjee said:"That is for the selection committee to decide. We will put up a proper team. He said AITA has been lenient in dealing with players.
"We don't always want to penalize the players. But we kept them out for the Korea tie (February 2013). We are lenient but not weak."
"Who are you ask these question. Tomorrow he can say why I have not been made captain. This is for the administration to decide," fumed Chatterjee.