What’s the story?
India might have won their Davis Cup tie 4-1 against Uzbekistan in Bengaluru but the headlines were focussed on the controversy in the Indian camp regarding Leander Paes’s place in the side. Paes had gone on record to say that he had been dropped out of the playing squad by India’s non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi due to their bad personal dynamics.
However, in his own defence, Bhupathi today uploaded a couple of screenshots of his Whatsapp conversation with Paes on Facebook, bringing to light the fact that Leander had been conveyed the message well in advance that his place was not confirmed in the final tour.
Earlier Bhupathi denied Paes’s claims and was quoted as saying to NDTV, “I had a very candid communication with Leander about the selection situation. I made it very clear to him that I was not going to pick the team before Thursday. So the decision of him coming down all the way to India was something I had left to him.
“And it's not about Leander, but every player on the team. Rohan (Bopanna) had also come down all the way from Miami, knowing very well that he was a reserve player.”
In case you didn’t know...
The Davis Cup tie was held in Bengaluru wherein hosts India defeated Uzbekistan at the KSLTA Stadium. In the first two singles ties, India emerged on the winning side, riding on the efforts of Ramkumar Ramanathan and debutant Prajnesh Gunneswaran, before Rohan Bopanna and the other debutant Sriram Balaji secured an unassailable 3-0 lead by clinching the doubles match before India went on to win 4-1.
The heart of the Matter
Rohan Bopanna was selected ahead of veteran Leander Paes to play the doubles tie against Uzbekistan by the non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi. Post this, Leander who was a part of the 6-man squad went on to claim that Bhupathi had flouted selection criteria and his bitter personal relationship with the former player was the reason behind his omission.
Paes had said that the decision regarding him not being a part of the playing team could have been conveyed to him with a simple phone call instead of the whole fracas. Today, Bhupathi went on to upload screenshots of his conversation with Paes which proves his case right.
Paes responded to the matter with the screenshot of a text document. He asserted that it was highly unprofessional of an Indian tennis professional to indulge in such behaviour.
It remains to be seen how Leander Paes reacts to these recent developments from Bhupathi’s end which have put things in perspective for the general fans of the sport and all those in question.
As far as Davis Cup is concerned, India have made it to the World Group Playoff’s which will be held in September and the opponents will be known later when the draw will be made in London.
Overall, the Indian team won their tie against Uzbekistan, and tennis was the actual victor. Let us hope that this controversy is resolved for the betterment and collective growth of the sport in India.