Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna. -Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian tennis chiefs have barred veterans Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from playing in the Davis Cup until June 2014 after they refused to partner doubles specialist Leander Paes at the Olympics.

Bhupathi, who at 38 may have played his last Davis Cup match, tweeted in response:

“The cranky old grand fathers on the executive committee, who have never played tennis waiting for a reaction? There is one coming. stay tuned!”

He and Bopanna, 32, cited personal and professional reasons for not wanting to link up with Paes at the London games.

Paes and Bhupathi formed a long-standing and highly successful team for years, winning Grand Slam doubles titles at the French Open in 1999 and 2001, and Wimbledon in 1999.

The selectors last month axed Bhupathi and Bopanna for the ongoing Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against New Zealand in Chandigarh and named a new-look team comprising Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan and Divij Sharan.

The youngsters have already taken an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the ongoing tie.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) decided at its executive committee meeting to continue with the young team in its Davis Cup matches, AITA secretary-general Bharat Oza said in a statement late Saturday.

“It is further decided not to consider Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna for selection to play for India till June 30, 2014,” he said.

The controversy over the Olympics team selection started after the AITA had initially named Bhupathi and Paes for the doubles, even though Bhupathi wanted to play with his current partner Bopanna.

The AITA were later forced to pick two doubles teams for the Olympics, with Paes pairing with lower-ranked Vardhan, and Bhupathi partnering Bopanna.

Both pairs were knocked out in the early rounds at the Olympics.

Bhupathi and Paes, who represented India in the doubles at four Olympics, broke up as a full-time pair in 2002, but continued to team up for India in the Davis Cup and other multi-sports tournaments such as the Olympics and Asian Games.

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Comments (2)

September 17, 2012 1:03 am
Well politics again. In Tennis as in other individual sports if partners can't get along the result is failure. The AITA cannot force the to play if one of them does not want the other. We are no different than Pakistan when it comes to sports. We have politician and retired generals and policemen get involved in selection, training etc and in most cases none of them have played these games. Well when it comes to foreign trips all of them would like to join the trip and spend Govt money. India Pakistan Zindabad in the way we run our sports
Ghalib Khan
September 17, 2012 5:40 am
Discipline needs to be maintained, but there should be some respect for senior players who have achieved so much on the way, they should have talked to find out some solution, anyway the ban is too harsh.
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