Veteran Davis Cup star Leander Paes did not hide his displeasure about the decision to drop him from the Indian squad for the World Group Match with Uzbekistan in Bengaluru from Friday, especially he flew in all the way from Mexico, and will now have to fly back to the US for a Challengers tournament. Indian Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi dropped him from the squad earlier in the day, opting for Rohan Bopanna as the sole doubles specialist. The decision could well spell the end of a notable career in India colours for Paes, who is still quite intent on getting to 20 Grand Slam titles.
"I'm here to support the country and support the Davis Cup based on the criteria I was told -- which is form," said the veteran to a group of journalists in Bengaluru after the announcement.
"That being said, the team was chosen two weeks ago based on ITF form in Futures. Whereas I just won an ATP Challenger. Also, as I always do my due diligence, as a thorough professional playing for the country, Bangalore's altitude is 920m. Mexico altitude is 1,800m+ -- which is double. When I got here yesterday morning for practice, I was feeling the ball very well, as you guys saw. That being said, the criteria is form, which obviously doesn't seem to be the case. It seems to fluctuate a lot.
"Whatever the criteria are, it should be stuck by," he added. "At one time, it is based on rankings, the other time it is not based on ranking, it is based on likes and personal preferences. Then it is not personal preferences, it is based on who plays deuce court and ad court. Now it is based on form. On form, you guys know better who has played better."
Paes said he was told he was out of the contest based on form. "I was told it is based on form. All this nonsense shouldn't be there when it comes to playing for the country. I firmly believe in one simple phone call -- you are needed or you are not needed. As simple as that. Doesn't have to be like this."