All India Tennis Association (AITA) CEO Akhouri Bishwadeep broke the silence on the brewing controversy surrounding India's Davis Cup tie against Pakistan and Mahesh Bhupathi being replaced as the non-playing captain of the team. Days after Mahesh Bhupathi by Rohit Rajpal as the non-playing captain of team India, the AITA CEO addressed the issue, involving both the shift in the venue as well as Mahesh Bhupathi. Mahesh Bhupathi, on Wednesday, had said that he believed that he was still the captain of the team unless he heard so otherwise and that he had been informed via a phone call that he was going to be replaced as the skipper as he wasn't comfortable traveling to Pakistan.
"We would not like to go into detail of correspondence with players. However some facts are important and need to be mentioned. As of 28 sept 2019, it had been communicated by erstwhile captain Mahesh Bhupathi that he had spoken to all the players personally and that no one was comfortable going to Pakistan. His recommendation was that he wanted the AITA to fight for change in venue, which it already was. If they do not get it, he wanted them to keep fighting to take the loser's spot. He wanted the AITA to speak personally to the players. An emergency meeting was called on 15 October and the AITA met to take a decision where it was decided that even if the tie was not shifted out of Islamabad, India would not forefeit the tie nor would it accept to take the loser's spot because it was far too prestigious. We were putting pressure on both Pakistan and ITF to ensure security arrangements", said Akhouri Bishwadeep in the press briefing.
Former tennis ace and India's non-playing Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi had written to the AITA earlier, raising security concerns for the players traveling to Pakistan and seeking clarity on the same. This came amid flaring tensions between India and Pakistan, with the former boycotting the latter and not sending the teams to play there over security issues. Bilateral series of any sport between India and Pakistan was suspended over Pakistan-backed terrorism and it's involvement in terror attacks on India. However, the AITA had earlier maintained that the Home Ministry and the Sports Ministry did not raise an objection with the venue of the tie. However, AITA decided to seek ITF's intervention to shift the venue to a neutral venue, citing security concerns and possible threats to the lives of the players.
India's tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi broke his silence on the Davis Cup controversy just days after he was replaced as the non-playing captain of the Indian team. Taking to Twitter, Mahesh Bhupathi revealed that he had received a call from AITA chairman Hiranmoy Chatterjee on Monday, informing him that Rohit Rajpal will be replacing him as the captain as he wasn't comfortable traveling to Pakistan. Mahesh Bhupathi further said that he not heard from the AITA ever since ITF decided to shift the venue of the India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue. Mahesh Bhupathi also said that he still believed that he was the captain unless he heard so otherwise.
To everyone so concerned for my thoughts and comments. All I know is from a phone call with Mr. Chaterjee on Monday where I was told that Rohit is replacing me as Captain because I wasn't comfortable going to Pakistan (love the country been there before - not this time)— Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) November 6, 2019
I have not heard from the AITA since Monday or after the ITF addressed the players concerns on venue and approved a neutral location - so I am available and believe in am still Captain unless I hear otherwise! Glad to "comment" when I know what I know🙏🏾— Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) November 6, 2019