Wednesday evening witnessed another twist in the All India Tennis Association-Mahesh Bhupathi drama. Five days back when the AITA executive committee decided not to consider Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna for national representation, they couldn't have expected the veteran to give up without a fight. And they bore the brunt of his lashing.
“Apparently, there is an ethics committee which has made the decision (to not consider the duo till June 2014), but we know all the decisions are made by only one man. It is a dictatorial rule. He (Anil Khanna, the AITA president) hides behind these ethics and executive committees to deflect the blame. It is not about any of the committees.
“It (the decision to ban) is personal between two people, and unfortunately, I am one of them," Bhupathi claimed in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Hurt after being referred to as 'stooges', a press statement was quickly issued on 'behalf of the executive committee' stating the allegations are 'far from being correct'. Hironmoy Chatterjee, a senior executive committee member had refuted Bhupathi's claims of a dictatorial reign.
Provision for appeal
The release, signed by AITA secretary Bharat Oza, added that the punished duo could appeal against the decision. The statement also says "the fact in this case is that unfortunately he (Khanna) was in minority in this decision and he had to go with the majority opinion."
Talking to Press Trust of India, Oza clarified that when debating upon the length of the punishment, Khanna was among the minority in what was finally decided.
Day to day roles
Hurt by Bhupathi's allegations that he is "able to do a lot more for the sport than they (AITA) do", the national body's administrators, who are not part of the executive committee, tried explaining their roles.
“We are a democratic body," stated Col Ranbir Chauhan, executive director development and marketing. "How can it be possible for one man to run the show?" he questioned.
“There is a vision from the president and we do our daily duties. Each executive director looks after his division.”
AITA's contribution was further justified by the list of junior and international tournaments they conduct at home to help players gain ranking points.