AITA sends clear message, drops Bhupathi, Bopanna from Davis Cup squad, Paes makes himself unavailable

Bangalore duo Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were dropped from India's Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I relegation tie against New Zealand to be played in Chandigarh from September 14 to 16 on disciplinary grounds - for asking to go to the London Olympics as a team and refusing to play with Leander Paes, says a report in The Times Of India.

With the 39-year-old Paes and singles exponent Somdev Devvarman making themselves unavailable for the tie, AITA had little choice, but to go for a new-look squad led by young gun Yuki Bhambri, ranked 191. The other members of the team are: Vishnu Vardhan (285), Saketh Myneni (387), Sriram Balaji (390), Sanam Singh (415) and Divij Sharan (1310). The squad will be pruned to four before September 2, when the International Tennis Federation will be notified about the selection.

Meanwhile Hindustan Times reports that the All India Tennis Association sent out a clear message that they would not be held to ransom again, as they dropped dissidents Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from the Davis Cup squad for the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against New Zealand in Chandigarh from September 14-16.

Secretary general of AITA Bharat Oza said Bhupathi and Bopanna were not considered for selection "in view of the stand taken by them regarding the selection for the Olympics team." In an attempt to deter more incidents like those, the federation has also decided to formulate a Code of Conduct for all its members. "We have started the process of making a specific code of conduct for players and officials of AITA, similar to what the BCCI has," Oza said. "The problems we faced during the Olympics selection process made us realise that unless we have a code of conduct in place, it will be difficult to decide the line of action for players who refuse to abide by the rules."

Meanwhile according to a report in Mid-Day, the All-India Tennis Association (AITA) said it had instructed the selectors not to pick either player for the Kiwi tie. “In view of the stand taken by Bhupathi and Bopanna regarding selection for the Olympics team, they should not be considered for the selection of the Davis Cup team,” the AITA said in a statement.

The selectors named a new-look squad for the Asia/Oceania Group I tie against New Zealand, to be played in Chandigarh from September 14-16, as both regulars Somdev Devvarman and Paes were unavailable.

The AITA said Paes had expressed a desire not to be considered for the Cup tie, while Devvarman was not fit. Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Saketh Myneni, Divij Sharan, Sanam K Singh and Sriram Balaji Narayanaswamy were named in the squad, with the final four to be decided on September 2.