Bhupathi, Prakash, Rohan agree to play Davis Cup tie

March 10th, 2008 - 12:22 am ICT by admin  

By Saumojyoti Singha Choudhury
Bangalore, March 9 (IANS) Thanks to tennis legend Vijay Amritraj’s intervention, Mahesh Bhupathi, Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna Sunday decided put aside their differences with captain Leander Paes and play the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Japan in New Delhi next month. Issuing a statement through former Davis Cupper Vijay, with whom they had a long dialogue over the last four weeks, the three players said: “Playing for the country is of paramount importance and there is no greater honour in representing one’s country in any walk of life.

“Having grown up with this dream nothing pained us more than writing the letter to the All India Tennis Association (AITA). It was done after a lot of thought and with a heavy heart.”

However, the trio stressed that the letter given to the AITA against Paes’ still stands and have decided to play against Japan only in the interest of the country.

The three players had earlier rebelled against Paes saying they will never feature in Davis Cup matches for India under the Olympic bronze medallist’s leadership citing his “autocratic” attitude and his coming out in open in the media against the team members as the reason.

The players said in the statement that over the last one month, especially after the AITA meeting in New Delhi and following their decision they had held long conservations with Vijay.

“We have reached the decision after having a long conversation with India’s most respected sports ambassador who served the country with distinction for over two decades. With our only goal being playing for the nation and with all other issues very much on the table, we look forward to play against Japan at home but our stand still remains the same on the issue,” the statement further read.

Vijay, on his part, said he had long discussions with the trio on the matter that eventually helped them to come to a decision.

“I had discussions with 99 percent of the players involved in the dialogue. I also had conversation with AITA secretary Anil Khanna.

“Boys’ decision is unanimous. For some reasons they feel that they had been sidetracked, but still they told me that playing the Davis Cup for the country comes above all controversies or even personal interests,” Vijay said.

Asked whether the AITA was aware of the trio’s decision, he said: “No, the AITA is still to be communicated. They will surely know about it from you guys (media) tomorrow.”

Asked whether he had discussed the issue with Paes or not, Vijay said: “The one percent with whom I am yet to discuss is Leander but I would love to sit down with him across the table. To me Leander is like one of us. He grew with us and is a great athlete. As far as the Davis Cup team is concerned, it is like a family for me.”

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