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AITA should be mature while Bhupathi, Paes: Mukerjea

Sports Lounge Staff




Kolkata: Former Davis Cup captain Jaidip Mukerjea is unhappy with the way the All India Tennis Association handled the issue of selecting the team for India’s Asia/Oceania Group 1 match versus Pakistan to be held on November 29-30.

The AITA unceremoniously removed the non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi and on Thursday named an eight-member team with veteran Leander Paes making a comeback since his history-creating doubles win during their tie against China in April 2018.

Bhupathi and some senior players had refused to travel to Pakistan before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifted the tie out of Islamabad to a neutral venue.

“I think Bhupathi was badly treated. They should have asked him to leave earlier itself, could’ve been communicated properly. It leaves a bad taste for Indian tennis,” Mukerjea said on the sidelines of the announcement of the fourth edition of Premjit Lall Invitational Tennis Tournament.

“AITA has done what it thought was best. Safety and security for our players is a big issue. But what baffled me the way AITA handled stars like Paes and Bhupathi.

“They could have handled this in a better way. I’ve observed that when Paes gets selected, Bhupathi is left out and vice versa. This has been happening for last 10-15 years. This is not good for Indian tennis,” the 77-year-old said.

The highlight of the Rs 5.7 lakh prize money tournament from November 5-8 is former India number one Somdev Devvarman, who will be seen in action for the first time after his retirement in 2017.

This year it will be played in round-robin format with four designated teams in fray, comprising two players and a captain.

Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza will be here on the opening day as tournament ‘mentor’.

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