Davis Cup: Up to selectors to decide if Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi should play, says AITA secretary Bharat Oza
All Indian Tennis Association secretary Bharat Oza said that the national tennis governing body would decide on the team composition for the September 12-14 Davis Cup home tie against Serbia in July.
The All Indian Tennis Association secretary Bharat Oza on Monday made it clear that the national selection committee needs to take a call on whether they would like to "go backwards" after veterans Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes announced their availability for the Davis Cup tie at home against Serbia.
"Our selection committee including captain (Anand Amritraj) and coach (Zeeshan Ali) would decide on whether we need to go backwards or keep faith in the youngsters who did well against South Korea," Oza said on Monday. (Also read: Present perfect but will the young brigade put country before self)
Oza also said that AITA would decide on the team composition for the September 12-14 home tie against Serbia in July. (Also read: Davis Cup may bring Djokovic to India)
"The current lot of players prefer the hard courts and not grass as was the case with earlier players. The tie would most likely be held on hard courts," said Oza.
Oza's reply was in reference to Paes' declaration that he is willing to be part of the squad as a player or captain or to help out the team if called upon by AITA. Earlier, Paes had announced that he was unavailable for national duty in 2014. (Also read: Paes hails India's dominant win over South Korea)
"If there is a need for me, I will. If need be to play or captain or help out, I'm still very open about it," he was quoted of having said.
His one-time partner Mahesh had told reporters during a promotional event that he was always available to play for the country, having earlier said he was set to retire after this year's Wimbledon Championships in June-July.
"I am always available. I know the captain's talk about the same just like coach has brought it up. I think it is important because the doubles will be pivotal in that match, so let's see how things pan out," Bhupathi had said last week.
India defeated Korea 3-1 earlier this month to make the Davis Cup play-off grade.
Bhupathi has launched the IPL-style International Premier Tennis League which has signed up world No. 1 and 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain and Serbia's Novak Djokovic, among other top players.
Paes and Bhupathi won two French Open and one Wimbledon men's doubles titles as a pair between 1999 and 2001 before splitting up due to differences.