Rohit Rajpal: Can't say no to country
India's new captain Rohit Rajpal says tennis is always in the news for wrong reasons; wants stakeholders, players to come together to speak in one voice
New Delhi: The national tennis federation on Thursday said an unflattering perception was being created about it in the wake of Mahesh Bhupathi's removal as captain when it actually selected Rohit Rajpal because the ITF till the last moment had not given the impression that it will move the Davis Cup tie out of Islamabad.
Hours before the ITF announced shifting of the tie to a neutral venue, AITA appointed Rohit Rajpal as new captain in place of Bhupathi which ITF had rescheduled to November 29-30.
Exasperated at AITA's decision to remove him, though he was available for the job at a neutral venue, Bhupathi said it is not acceptable to him that he is being fired for not showing up for national duty.
AITA hits back
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) CEO Akhuri Bishwadep said: "AITA has utmost regard for Mahesh Bhupathi and other players. The last few months have not been easiest for us due to uncertainties. But a perception of AITA management is being created which is not flattering. Contrary to that perception we wish to state unequivocally that AITA has respect for players and stakeholders." Rajpal, 48, on his part, said: "These players are our legends. The junior players look up to them.But we are always in news for wrong reasons. Indian tennis does not need this. Everything can be reasoned out, there has to be a dialogue. It's easy to discredit people," Rajpal said.
On him taking up captaincy when safety concerns were there, Rajpal said, "If you give me a gun and ask me to go to the border, I will take the gun and fight. I have been brought up in a way that I can't say no to country's call." While Rajpal said he was not authorised to speak if Bhupathi can comeback as captain, he added: "It's executive committee's decision to decide on captain but if Mahesh is required in future why not have him and also he can make more contribution in other capacities being a legend of the game. I appeal to all stakeholders and players to come together and speak as one voice and defeat the enemy which is not within but outside."
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