AITA issues a cautionary statement ahead of Davis Cup match

AEGON Championship - Day Six
Paes and Bhupathi

What's the story?

Sunday morning brought fresh tidings to Indian tennis with the selectors huddling together to decide the squad for the Davis Cup team who is going to play in the tie against China in April, next month.

All the buzz and rumour about Leander Paes getting selected for the team was confirmed earlier in the morning in a press release which also suggests a certain cautionary note that all the players must abide by following the selection of the veteran Leander Paes, Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sumit Nagal and Divij Sharan.

The press release stated, "Any issues between the players had to be settled in a nice manner in the interest of the nation between themselves."

In case you don't know...

The fact that the most decorated and celebrated player of Indian tennis, Leander Paes has been on unfriendly terms with his co-players, is perhaps the worst kept secret of Indian tennis. Come every Davis Cup match, these bitter spats would surface and somehow harm the impact of the players as a team.

Non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team, Mahesh Bhupathi has been particularly on bad terms with Paes ever since the 2006 Doha Asian Games. What followed soon after, was that several other Indian players, like Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza, began to show a certain sense of dissent towards the veteran ace player and accused him of possessing a "selfish" nature.

The heart of the matter

Owing to such a troubled history of player relationships, it is indeed a nagging thought for the All India Tennis Association (AITA). The selectors deemed it best to uphold the best interests of the country and being conscious about the 'reservations' expressed by some of the players has gone ahead and selected a team 'irrespective of the reservations'.

The AITA also issued a word of caution in their press release and strongly recommended that they players sort out all sorts of personal issues off-court and not let it come in the way of their performance for the country in the Davis Cup match against China next month.

There is much reason for the AITA to issue such a statement because it has had to hear several reports of infighting among the players, mostly regarding Paes who had been dropped from the starting line-up of the Davis Cup team by Mahesh Bhupathi last year.

What's next?

The six selected players who are to represent India next month have been chosen very carefully keeping in mind India's best chances to secure a win. Word is that if Leander gets to win his next Davis Cup rubber match, he will break Nicola Pietrangeli's 42 record wins and create another world record of winning a doubles match 43 times at the Davis Cup.

Author's take

Sports, like every other professional field, demands that you keep aside your personal problems and issues when you are playing for the country. The AITA, in issuing the press release, has hoped to convey this message loud and clear that while playing for your nation, you should not fall prey to such things where your ego and personal conflicts will come into play for that will distract you from the game and obviously, harm it eventually.

To safeguard the country's best interests, the AITA has left no stone unturned in requesting the players to settle all troubles and at least leave them off the court. The key thing to being a successful player and a great sportsman is being able to master your personal issues and put away your distractions and concentrate on the game. We hope that our players take heed of this caution and work towards bringing several laurels home.

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Edited by Sagnik Kundu
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