The All India Tennis Association axed Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna from the Davis Cup side the association wanted send out a strong message to players against picking and choosing tournaments when representing the national team, reported PTI on Tuesday.
Bopanna pulled out of India’s Davis Cup tie against Spain in September 2016 citing injury. However, that did not go down well with the All India Tennis Association. On the final day of the tie on September 18, the 36-year old posted a video on Instagram, showing him enjoying a dance with his friends in a bar in Bangalore.
“We have not closed our eyes. If a player does not have that special feeling to play for the country, he does not deserve to be in the team. It was a crucial tie and we expect players to put up their hands and get ready for the challenge,” said an AITA insider to PTI.
The selection committee chairman SP Misra insisted that Bopanna’s pull out was not discussed at the meeting to pick team for New Zealand.
Bopanna (28) is higher-ranked than Leander Paes (59), but the veteran player was preferred over the former. However, AITA secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee did drop a hint that Bopanna not playing the Spain tie was an issue.
“All ex-Davis Cup players are selectors. They discussed all matters including the past results against New Zealand and Rohan opting out of the Spain tie. After detailed discussion they have selected the team. I feel all concerned should honour and accept their decision,” Chatterjee told PTI.
Bopanna defended himself, saying he indeed was injured. “I am surprised somebody will think like that. Right after my mixed doubles at the US Open when I went to the physios there, they said some fluids were there and my knee was swollen so I had to take 10-day off. I gave an advance notice that I need to take 10-day off,” he said.
In response to the video of him dancing, Bopanna said it did not mean he was fit to play a competitive match. “For me to do one sprint of 100 metres, yes, I can do it but if I have to constantly serve and volley for five sets, it’s not possible. I never said, I could not run, I could not walk, I could not jump. I was not 100 per cent fit. As a tennis player that is where I am looking at it. Who knows if they call me to play singles like they did in Chandigarh? So I am looking at it as overall picture. They need to understand the player,” explained Bopanna.