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Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019

Mahesh Bhupathi handled it badly, Leander Paes also at fault: Anand Amritraj

Anand Amritraj has criticized both Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi for their latest controversy regarding the team selection for India’s Davis Cup match against Uzbekistan.

tennis Updated: Apr 11, 2017 00:19 IST
New Delhi
The latest flare-up between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi came after Paes was dropped for the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan by Bhupathi, the non-playing captain.
The latest flare-up between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi came after Paes was dropped for the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan by Bhupathi, the non-playing captain. (Getty Images)

The latest episode in the controversial relationship between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi is nothing but a “new chapter in old story”, feels former Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj who criticized both the players for the current mess.

Amritraj, Bhupathi’s predecessor, said the captain should have made it clear to Paes that he was not in the playing four and Paes should not have come to Bengaluru if he was not assured of a place in the playing squad.

Paes had accused Bhupathi of using his position to exclude him from the team while the captain said he had never actually promised him a place in the final four and had given him the option of not coming to Bengaluru as reserve.

“It’s just a new chapter in old story. It’s just tragic that it has cropped up again. There is fault on both sides. It was pretty badly handled by Mahesh. Why did Mahesh not send a mail to Leander and told him clearly that you are are not in final four? If he had decided to pick Rohan two months back, why keep this guy (Leander) hanging?,” Amritraj told PTI in an interaction.

READ | Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes wash dirty linen in public, once again

“Did he want to fool the Uzbeks by picking four singles players? Nobody is going to get fooled like this. And Lee should not have come to Bangalore at all if he was not sure of playing.

“All this confusion could have been avoided. All Mahesh needed to do was send an e-mail to Leander that he was not being considered in final four and mark a copy to AITA.”

Paes had left Bengaluru mid-way into the tie, a move which Bhupathi said was final nail in the coffin. The captain also did not like the fact that Paes spoke to media despite his gag order.

However, Amritraj felt Paes had no reason to stay back in Bengaluru, doing nothing.

“What’s the point in hanging around? The team was already 2-0 up after day one. It was better if he left for the US and get acclimatised to the conditions for the next tournament. There was no point leaving on Monday.

“He should not have put himself for humiliation. He should not have come to Bangalore,” felt Amritraj.

Meanwhile, former Davis Cupper Vishal Uppal criticised Bhupathi for making public his private chat with Paes.

READ | ‘Behave yourselves’: Tennis bosses tell Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi

“He should not have done that because he is captain of the team, he has to be a bigger statesman. It’s unfortunate this drama is playing out again. The reality is we should actually be talking about good debuts by Balaji and Prajnesh,” Uppal told PTI.

“This saga will continue and Indian tennis will be hurt. Making a personal chat public does not make sense and that was the grouse players had with AITA. The transition from being a player to a captain has to be understood. Mahesh is a very important statesman in Indian tennis and it reflects so badly again,” he said.

“The youngsters are again caught in quagmire of Leander- Mahesh saga.”

First Published: Apr 10, 2017 18:42 IST