Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Last Updated: 21 May 11:36 AM IST
30 September 2012
Issue 3 ~ Mahesh Bhupathi’s swansong was justly bitter
As per Rule 36 A (2) of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) constitution, a player stands suspended under disciplinary grounds if he declines to play for state/country without reason. Mahesh Bhupathi was banned from playing for the country till June 2014 under the rules enshrined in the constitution of the governing body. The AITA unanimously picked Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi for the men’s doubles event in the London Olympics, but Bhupathi refused to partner Leander Paes and insisted that he be paired with Rohan Bopanna instead. Bhupathi thinks he played his last match for India at the London Olympics, which he lost.
The trouble with this twelve-time Grand Slam-winner, probably, was his line of thought that at times was at odds with that of the AITA. The 37-year-old claimed that the AITA was jealous of the fact that he had been able to do more for the sport than the establishment. Bhupathi thinks more than 80 per cent of the members of the executive committee were glued to the chairs for more than 20 years, but could not produce a single professional tennis player as yet. Having said that, he admitted that the game had given him everything he deserved and that he was ready to do his bit for the sport, including organising tennis events, building courts, scouting and grooming talent and even opening tennis academies across the country.
He claims that the AITA misused its powers to teach him a lesson only because he was able to do a lot more for the sport than it had so far. But the authority found that Mr Bhupathi was trying to play the role of player, selector and administrator at the same time. However, the doubles ace deserved due redressal of his grievances since he felt that he had always been given step-motherly treatment by the AITA as it had never supported his initiatives for the sport. Bhupathi and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna were banned in the aftermath of the well-chronicled selection fiasco ahead of the London Olympics. He has a reason to sound bitter.
26 september, nadia
Bhupathi brought it on himself
Mahesh Bhupathi should have been warned and punished when he had refused to partner Leander Paes ahead of the London Olympics. The result is well known ~ both returned empty handed from London and the Indian tennis team cut a sorry figure. Nobody can dictate terms and the best possible pair is supposed to represent the country. Bhupathi and Paes should have put the country first. They had started falling out a long time ago but still managed to play together in Davis Cup matches. But Bhupathi’s sudden intransigence ahead of the London event was a bolt from the blue for tennis lovers across the country. As a governing body, the AITA has a right to punish the errant player.
Bhupathi is solely responsible for his own downfall. Had he put the country’s interest above petty squabbles, he would have brought home laurels. But he thought otherwise and decided to go against the AITA’s decision. He partnered with Bopanna and lost the games in London. On the contrary, Leander and low-ranked Vishnu Vardhan bowed out of the competition after fighting gallantly. Thus, Bhupathi is largely responsible of the state of affairs. It is not sure whether Bhupathi will be in a condition to play after a span of 24 months. However, considering all odds, if the punishment is reduced, Indian tennis will only gain.
25 september, kolkata
Burnt his bridges
Under pressure from foreign minister Mr SM Krishna, when AITA reluctantly allowed Rohan Bopanna to partner Mahesh Bhupathi at the 2012 London Olympics, the senior player should have realised that the combination would not work. Both of them were badly defeated in the second round of Olympic doubles. The teammates were waiting for the India-New Zealand Davis Cup bout and had India lost, would have gone for the AITA’s jugular. But when Vishnu Vardhan and his teammates played well and saved India, Bhupathi realised his time was up. He still took a jab at the AITA which defended itself by saying that was the most professionally-managed sporting organisation in India and had four executive directors with educational, governmental, journalistic and administrative exposure. It seems Bhupathi has burnt his bridges.
pijus kanti sarkar,
24 september, kolkata