Decision on Bhupathi-Bopanna a Strong Message: AITA

Chandigarh, Sep 17 (IANS): The All India Tennis Association (AITA) said Sunday that by sidelining Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna till June 2014 it has sent out a strong message that indiscipline will not be tolerated.

AITA secretary general Bharat Oza clarified that it was not a ban but a lesson for the two players, who had rebelled against the association's decision of pairing them with Leander Paes for the 2012 London Games.

The two players will now be eligible for selection only in the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea in September.

"AITA is not in a position to impose ban on any player. It's a kind of disciplinary action to send across a message to players, who aspire to play for India that we will not tolerate this," Oza told reporters here.

Oza also said that AITA was working on a model code of conduct and it would be in practice in two-three months.

"We do not have a code of conduct where it is mentioned that a player can be punished for so and so period. We are formulating it and will come up in two-three months. AITA has some rules and regulation which says that action can be taken against a player," he said.

When asked why Paes opted for a club tournament instead of Davis Cup tie, Oza said the players had informed the AITA earlier.

"He was hurt and emotionally drained. He did not want to face media scrutiny so soon. We have to consider if a player is mentally and physically fit. We have to address all kind of issues. His request came if you can excuse me," Oza said.

Oza also said that AITA will not have any preferential treatment when it comes to taking strict actions. "It's not different at all."

Asked how Somdev Devvarman played in the US Open despite making himself unavailable for the Davis Cup citing fitness problems, Oza said it could be due to monetary benefits.

"Monetary benefit and ranking points issue, he had to play. He is still not 100 percent fit. So we gave him the benefit of doubt. We have to give player time to recover," he said.


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Title: Decision on Bhupathi-Bopanna a Strong Message: AITA

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