Davis Cup: Mahesh Bhupathi ‘hurt’ by AITA’s decision; backs India to beat Pakistan
'I am still in touch with the boys on a daily basis. I was disappointed with the way the federation (AITA) dealt with it. When they wanted me to become captain, they flew down to Hyderabad, had a meeting with me,' Mahesh Bhupathi said
Mumbai: Mahesh Bhupathi, who was sacked as India’s Davis Cup captain, said he is “hurt” by the way the All India Tennis Association (AITA) treated him. However, he added that it did not come as a surprise for him.
Ahead of India’s Davis Cup tie against Pakistan, Bhupathi was removed as the team’s non-playing skipper. He had refused to travel to Pakistan due to security reasons. The tie was shifted from Pakistan to Kazakhstan (Nur-Sultan).
The 45-year-old Bhupathi was replaced by Rohit Rajpal as India's Davis Cup captain.
“I am still in touch with the boys on a daily basis. I was disappointed with the way the Federation dealt with it. When they wanted me to become captain, they flew down to Hyderabad, had a meeting with me,” Bhupathi said on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.
“I don't mind if they think that it is time for me to step out, but a courtesy phone call saying 'listen we think it is time to put someone new in the system' and I would have respected that but I didn't even get that call.
“Honestly the way the federation has dealt with not only me but everyone in Indian tennis for the last 20 years, there is no surprise. But at some level it kind of hurts,” he added.
Bhupathi said he agreed to the job as he had a vision for Indian tennis.
“I don't think at that time I was ready to take on captaincy, but they made a hard sell and committed to certain amount of support on what I wanted to create as a system and got me to agree to take a job,” he said.
Talking about the tie against Pakistan, Bhupathi said Team India would win without much trouble.
“It will be absolutely not difficult for them (India) to beat Pakistan anywhere in this world...we were always going to beat Pakistan regardless of where we played and who played for Pakistan.
“The bottom line is that now the good news is we have a semi-descent draw — if we win we are playing Croatia,” Bhupathi added.
He was speaking after inaugurating the newly re-laid tennis courts at the iconic Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai in the presence of Sania Mirza, Gymkhana's president Vivek Devnani and secretary Gaurav Kapadia.
(With inputs from PTI)