Bopanna blasts AITA for change of non-playing captain, federation says “don’t interfere”

Rohan Bopanna slammed the AITA for changing the Davis Cup non-playing captain without consulting the players, and the federation has hit back at him.

Rohan Bopanna (second from right) was irked at the AITA's decision to replace Mahesh Bhupathi as non-playing captain for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan without consulting the players.   -  AP

Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna, on Tuesday, expressed his displeasure at the players not being consulted before changing Mahesh Bhupathi as non-playing captain for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan. Reacting to his statement, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) asserted that it was not players’ domain to comment on policy matters.

The tie against Pakistan, which was supposed to be played in Islamabad on November 29-30, will now be played at a neutral venue.

RELATED| India vs Pakistan Davis Cup tie shifted to neutral venue

Incidentally, Bopanna along with five others had pulled out the Pakistan tour, citing safety concerns. With captain Bhupathi also pulling out for the same reason, AITA went ahead and named Rohit Rajpal as new captain for the tie at its Executive Committee on Monday in Chandigarh.

It may noted that Bhupathi’s term as the non-playing captain ended in December 2018 and he was given an extension to lead the side in the tie against Italy in February this year in Kolkata.

Bopanna’s contention was that AITA changed the captain before International Tennis Federation (ITF) made a final decision on a neutral venue. AITA had chosen Rajpal for the job on Monday, hours before ITF shifted the tie out of Islamabad.

“It surprises me that AITA changed the Davis Cup captain before ITF announced the final decision yesterday (04.11.19) and where the tie would be held,” Bopanna said on Twitter.

“What shocks me more that none of the players were asked or even informed that the captain was going to be changed,” Bopanna wrote.

 

Responding to Bopanna’s comments, AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee said the players should not interfere in administrative matters.

RELATED| Rohit Rajpal named India's non-playing captain for Pakistan tie

“They are behaving according to their convenience. They have no right to ask question on areas which are outside players’ domain. Their job is to play. Who is he (Bopanna) to ask such questions? There is (AITA) administration to look into these matters,” Chatterjee told PTI.

“As far as AITA is concerned, it’s we who have to take a call. He is not supposed to interfere. Tomorrow he can say why I have not been made captain. This is for the administration to decide,” he added.

Asked if Bopanna will still be considered for the tie against Pakistan, Chatterjee said: “That is for the selection committee to decide. We will put up a proper team (in place)."