The latest episode in the acrimonious relationship between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi is nothing but a “new chapter in old story”, feels former Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj who holds both the players responsible 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 a 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.”
“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 the 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 there 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.
“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 the quagmire of the Leander-Mahesh saga.”