New Delhi, Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna on Tuesday slammed the All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) decision to change the non-playing captain of the Indian Davis Cup team without allegedly consulting the players.
On Monday, hours before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that the India-Pakistan tie which was to be played in Islamabad will be shifted to a neutral location, the AITA announced that incumbent Mahesh Bhupathi would be replaced by former player Rohit Rajpal as India’s non-playing captain.
“It surprises me that AITA has changed the Davis Cup Captain before ITF announced the final decision yesterday (04.11.19) and where the tie would be held (sic.),” said Bopanna. “What shocks me even more is that none of the players were asked or even informed that the Captain was going to be changed.”
Bopanna said that the camaraderie between the players and the captain is a major source of support for the members of the team and “Contrary to the incessant belief and actions of the AITA and their manner of functioning, when it comes to the decisions they make in context to the ‘player’s best interest’; with my years of experience, and representation – I would like for the system to know that the player’s best interest is when the players are heard. And in this case, at least informed. When we bring our Patriotism on court with racquet in hand, we also bring a Voice (sic.),” he said.
Rajpal had made his Davis Cup debut, and what turned out to be his only appearance as part of the Indian team, in 1990 against Korea in Seoul. He is the president of the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).