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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Tennis

Hesh, Bopanna kicked out of team
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 18, 2012
First Published: 15:54 IST(18/8/2012)
Last Updated: 02:05 IST(19/8/2012)

The All India Tennis Association sent out a clear message that they would not be held to ransom again, as they dropped dissidents Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from the Davis Cup squad for the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against New Zealand in Chandigarh from September 14-16.

With Somdev Devvarman and Leander Paes unavailable for selection, the federation announced a a new-look Indian team comprising Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Saketh Myneni, Divij Sharan, Sanam Singh and Sriram Balaji Narayanswamy on Saturday. It will be cut down to four players before September 2. SP Misra has been retained as the non-playing captain.

Secretary general of AITA Bharat Oza said Bhupathi and Bopanna were not considered for selection "in view of the stand taken by them regarding the selection for the Olympics team."

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In an attempt to deter more incidents like those, the federation has also decided to formulate a Code of Conduct for all its members.

"We have started the process of making a specific code of conduct for players and officials of AITA, similar to what the BCCI has," Oza said. "The problems we faced during the Olympics selection process made us realise that unless we have a code of conduct in place, it will be difficult to decide the line of action for players who refuse to abide by the rules."

The proposed code of conduct will be finalised in the executive committee meeting on September 15 in Chandigarh.

Oza made it clear that further reprimands await Bhupathi and Bopanna. "The selection committee had specific instructions to keep the pair out of consideration. What further action needs to be taken will be decided later."

Devvarman has made himself unavailable over fitness grounds while Paes, still upset over the Olympic row, has chosen to play for the Washington Kastles in World Team Tennis instead.

Fresh blood
With India facing New Zealand, one of the weaker sides in the draw on paper, at home, the selectors have jumped to the opportunity to "blood youngsters." Though Delhi's Bhambri is only 20, he has played in the high-pressure team event before, and will lead the Indian challenge.

"We see this an an opportunity to blood in young talent," Oza explained. "They have played many international events and some of them like Sanam, have done well recently in ITF tournaments. They might not have the kind of experience in playing in events like Davis Cup where the pressure is immense." In spite of the inexperience, AITA has high hopes from this team, and Oza even predictied a 3-0 rout.


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