Angry and aggrieved Bhupathi mulls legal action against AITA

Mahesh Bhupathi is in pain. He is aggrieved, he's distressed and he's disturbed, says a report in The Times Of India, adding that more than that, he's angry. Angry at the establishment, incensed at the way he's been treated. “Worst of all, he feels helpless too. He knows he can't take on the 'dictatorial' system in tennis alone. He's aware he's being targeted because of 'personal vendetta'. He realizes this could be the end of his 18-year career. Yet, he can't do anything, barring "explore legal options",” says the report.

"Who's going to take them to trial," he asks. "For the nation's sake, someone needs to." But he doesn't know how to go about it. "I am too small to take them on. They have been sitting there for 25 years without producing a single player of class. They have been doing this for long, and will continue misusing their power to punish me because they feel I am able to do a lot more for this sport than they do."

Last Saturday, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) barred Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from playing for India till June 30, 2014, in what was a fallout of the embarrassing selection fiasco ahead of the London Olympics.

Meanwhile a report in The Indian Express says that on Tuesday, Mahesh Bhupathi went ahead and took on AITA president Anil Khanna dubbing their decision to bar him and partner Rohan Bopanna from Indian squads for the next two years, an outcome of a personal grudge against him.

He also spelt out that he wanted to keep Bopanna away from what is now an open confrontation with AITA, a body he said could act pretty ‘vindictive.’  The clumsily executed ‘ban’, has forced Bhupathi to draw out his claws. “Being termed a traitor is unacceptable, and I will explore legal options,” he said, stressing that the Olympics selection fiasco was a result of AITA’s lack of communication, where they addressed the issue only two weeks prior to naming the team, despite knowing the duo’s intention of playing together.

“Any other body would have taken the bull by the horns. Like Austria did in January itself by announcing that the top two ranked players would be picked. But they left it to the end,” he said. Bhupathi also offered email exchanges where AITA had asked the two to convince selectors of their preparedness as a pair. “Five out of 6 selectors were leaning towards sending two teams,” he added.

According to a report in The Hindu the secretary general of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Bharat Oza, announced that the AITA would form a comprehensive code soon, and would have it signed by the players whenever they represented the country for the first time in their career. Addressing the media, Oza said that the AITA was not in a position to impose a ban on revolting players, and it could exercise its powers only on players being selected to represent the country.

“We wanted to send a message to the young players and others that this type of behaviour would not be tolerated,” said Oza, as he recalled Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refusing to partner Leander Paes for the London Olympics.