So the AITA has finally cracked its whip and has punished the rebels. The punishment: A 2 year ban for both Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will make them ineligible to represent India till 20th June,2014 .Everyone expected a stern action against the defaulters, but such a ban has truly shaken the tennis fraternity and might well see the end of Mahesh Bhupathi’s dream of ever playing for India again. On the other hand, AITA had to come up with this unprecedented punishment in order to reinforce itself as the centre of power for Indian tennis.
Emotionally speaking this will indeed be the end of an era(which came very prematurely) and will put to rest one of the most successful doubles pairing of Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi in the world in the Davis Cup. Their winning spree of 23 matches and being undefeated for 15 long years(1997-onwards) will also come to a halt.
But realistically speaking, this ban won’t have much of an impact on Indian team.
Firstly, with Olympics concluding just a month ago, there are no major international tournaments lined up within these 2 years. Even if the two continue to play for these 2 years, which considering Mahesh’s form is highly unlikely, they would be eligible for the Asian games and the Commonwealth games which would only happen towards the latter part of 2014. Considering the fact that both of them made themselves unavailable for the last Asian games, this won’t be in their scheme of things either.
Secondly, with the Indian Davis Cup team currently languishing in the Asia Oceania group 1, and selecting 3 world class doubles player was always a liability. I think even if we progress to the world groups, Leander Paes pairing with Vishnu Vardhan(or any other singles specialist for that matter) would be more than capable of competing with the best in the business . Also considering the way the Great Indian Tennis drama panned out before the Olympics, it was hard to imagine Leander Paes pairing with either of Mahesh or Rohan ever thereafter.
So in the end would just like to thank Mahesh and Rohan for all the memories, but I guess it’s the time to move on.