The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Monday said that Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi should have shown "respect" to Leander Paes by clearly telling him that he was not going to be a part of the playing squad before his arrival for the tie against Uzbekistan.
In the midst of an ugly public spat over team selection, Paes said that Bhupathi was being disrespectful to him by not categorically telling him that he would not be in the playing squad, while the new captain asserted that he had never promised a certain spot to Paes.
AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee said that the non-playing captain should have kept in mind Paes' stature in Indian tennis.
Hironmoy ChatterjeeWe would have appreciated if Mahesh had told Leander before he arrived that he is not going to be in the final four. I think he (Paes) deserves that respect after serving the country for 27 years.
The senior AITA official also said that they expect the veteran players to behave in a mature manner.
Bhupathi made public his chat with Paes to counter accusations that he used his position to exclude the Olympic medallist from the playing squad. Chatterjee remarked:
We expect these senior pros to be more mature. The way they are going about it, we are not appreciating it. We have to talk to them and make sure they behave in a much more mature manner.
The Bengal Tennis Association President also said that Paes should have avoided making comments on his exclusion during the tie.
Leander should not have spoken when the tie was on. Mahesh did the right thing by speaking after the tie was over.
The AITA official said he has seen the WhatsApp chat between Paes and Bhupathi and its aim now is to bring them together and sort out the issues.
I have also seen it and discussed it with Leander. I am going to sit and talk to both of them when I get time since they are both travelling. I do intend to bring them together. They will settle it out. They are mature people but the reactions they have given could have been much better.
Bhupathi, in his Facebook post, had mentioned that he the the backing of the establishment in implementing his ideas as he strives to get the team back into the Davis Cup World Group. Chatterjee endorsed the non-playing captain's view.
Well, whatever he wants to do and whatever he has said, definitely he has been interacting with the federation and there is no doubt about that. He has discussed everything with us. There are no issues with that.
After Bhupathi claimed that a personal agenda was not behind Paes' exclusion, the latter issued a statement that he was never categorically told that he would not be in the playing four, which he found disrespectful.
The Lee-Hesh saga goes back to the late 1990s and their acrimonious relationship has been a talking point in Indian tennis.
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