Speaking exclusively to Republic TV, tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi opened up about the “indirect threats” that the players got after the meeting with AITA where they requested to change the location of India & Pakistan's match from Islamabad. He said that the players were getting calls from AITA after the meeting saying that their funding would be revoked, or they will not be picked for particular games. Bhupathi also accused AITA of having poor management. This comes after the International Tennis Federation shifted the India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue citing security reasons. However, before that, AITA had replaced Mahesh Bhupathi as the non-playing captain of the team with Rohit Rajpal.
Talking about what happened in the meeting and after that Mahesh Bhupathi said, “I wasn’t allowed to say much in the meeting, but you know right after the meeting all the players started getting calls individually and they were getting threats, I mean indirect threats saying if you don’t commit to go to Pakistan, we are not going to pick you for the following ties (games), if you don’t go to Pakistan we are not going to support you for the government funding. So, it is just being very poorly managed”.
“Knowing how the AITA operates for a long time I think they don’t like it when people speak from their own voice, they like to divide and rule and they have been doing that for 20 years within Indian tennis. So that fact that all the players were speaking in one voice kind of flustered them a little bit and they figured that let’s get rid of the captain, so now you know everybody is looking around and wondering what the hell happened,” he added.
Reiterating that he had certain responsibilities towards the team Mahesh Bhupathi said, “Everybody is available now. As a captain, my job is to think of the best of my team all the time. If I had a captain who asked me to go to Pakistan under these circumstances, I would be quite upset. All we raised is a security issue which is validated by the ITA by giving a neutral venue. So now all the players are available. We did not say that we are not going. If you see our e-mail on October 6, we just said security concerns. So, you know AITA's job was to address those concerns not take it in a negative way. When you go to your parents and say you have a concern, they try to fix the concern. They don't take it and spin it around.”