Tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi slammed the AITA for its "divide and rule" policy and threatening and forcing Indian tennis players to go to Pakistan for Davis Cup tie or else face "repercussions."
"AITA has always been like that. Never cared for players' and players' interests. It really does not care about the players' safety and security. It follows the divide and rule policy. It threatened the players to play in Pakistan or else face consequences which meant not being picked for the next series and not considered for government funding," Bhupathi told Republic TV in an exclusive telephonic interview on Wednesday.
Bhupathi said he was available if they wanted him but now they have decided to continue with Rohit Rajpal as the non-playing captain. "As a captain, it was my job to think about my team all the time. As a captain, they told me to Pakistan. In these circumstances, I would have been quite upset. We just raised security issues relating to Pakistan and our demands were validated by the ITF. Now all players are available because ITF has changed or shifted the venue. We did not say that we were not available or we were not going. We just said we have security concern and AITA is bound to solve those concerns. If we go to our parents with some concern then they solve it not spin it around."
Bhupathi said AITA didn't like players and people who raised their voice and concern and disclosed that he was not allowed to speak much at the AITA meeting in Delhi recently where the crucial decision was taken. "I was not allowed to speak much in the meeting. They said you have nothing to do in this. It's our decision, not yours. Clearly, they were upset with me while I was just concerned with security matters. Somewhere and somehow they gave a threat to the players to go to Pakistan at any cost. It's just sad management," he added.
He pointed out that AITA secretary general Hiranmoy Chatterjee had called him on Monday and said he knew that I was not comfortable going to Pakistan, hence he was replaced by Rohit Rajpal. As captain, I should have been reinstated but they have now officially decided not to. I had never said that I was not available for national duty. If they want to fire me, they can. It's their prerogative but they can't say that I made myself unavailable for the country. I played for the country for 25 years and now if they say this, it doesn't make work with me".