Former Indian Davis Cup captains like Anand Amritraj, Jaideep Mujherjea and former Davis Cupper Vishal Uppal have reacted to the entire Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi fiasco. Amritraj, Bhupathi's predecessor, said the captain should have made it clear to Paes that he was not in the playing four and Paes should not have come to Bengaluru if he was not assured of a place in the playing squad.
“It’s just a new chapter in old story. It’s just tragic that it has cropped up again. There is fault on both sides. It was pretty badly handled by Mahesh. Why did Mahesh not send a mail to Leander and told him clearly that you are are not in final four? If he had decided to pick Rohan two months back, why keep this guy (Leander) hanging?,” Amritraj said.
He further added, “Did he want to fool the Uzbeks by picking four singles players? Nobody is going to get fooled like this. And Lee should not have come to Bangalore at all if he was not sure of playing. All this confusion could have been avoided.
All Mahesh needed to do was send an e-mail to Leander that he was not being considered in final four and mark a copy to AITA.” However, Amritraj felt Paes had no reason to stay back in Bengaluru, doing nothing.
“What’s the point in hanging around? The team was already 2-0 up after day one. It was better if he left for the US and get acclimatised to the conditions for the next tournament. There was no point leaving on Monday.
He should not have put himself for humiliation. He should not have come to Bangalore,” felt Amritraj. Meanwhile, former Davis Cupper Vishal Uppal criticised Bhupathi for making public his private chat with Paes. “He should not have done that because he is captain of the team, he has to be a bigger statesman.
It’s unfortunate this drama is playing out again. The reality is we should actually be talking about good debuts by Balaji and Prajnesh,” Uppal said. “This saga will continue and Indian tennis will be hurt.
Making a personal chat public does not make sense and that was the grouse players had with AITA. The transition from being a player to a captain has to be understood. Mahesh is a very important statesman in Indian tennis and it reflects so badly again,” he said.
“The youngsters are again caught in quagmire of Leander- Mahesh saga.” Former captain Jaidip Mukherjea also remarked that to Paes’ decision to speak to the media ahead of the Davis Cup tie, which had two debutants, was in bad taste.
“When the team was announced and Leander went to the media before the Davis Cup, that was in bad taste. He could have done it after the tie was over. Just before the players are going to play, it affects the morale.
Leander is one of the greatest Indian players but he is not a spring chicken anymore — he is 43. His contribution for the country has been enormous. (But) this team is the future,” stated the 1966 Davis Cup finalist.