I have played my last match for India: Bhupathi

Slams AITA for dictatorial attitude, says it’s harmful for Indian tennis.

I have played my last match for India: Bhupathi

Mumbai : Stung by the two-year ban imposed on him, veteran tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi on Tuesday hit back at the AITA, accusing the game’s governing body of resorting to ‘divide-and-rule’ policy and said its ‘dictatorial attitude’ will be harmful for the future of Indian tennis.

A hurt Bhupathi made a scathing attack on AITA and its president Anil Khanna who, he alleged, was playing ‘dirty politics’ and creating rift among players, particularly between him and Leander Paes.

“Khanna has redefined the term divide and rule. The AITA and its dictatorial attitude, and its administration are harmful for the future of Indian tennis,” Bhupathi said at a press conference here on Tuesday where he also circulated his correspondence with the AITA ahead of the London Olympics.

The veteran tennis pro said he had no choice but to accept the ban but was now exploring legal options.

“My being termed a dictator is unacceptable to me. I don’t know if we can do anything, but there is no option not to accept the ban. We will definitely pursue a legal route. (My) lawyers are deciding the course of action, can’t say much now,” he said.

The 12-time Indian Grand Slam winner said that he had probably played his ‘last’ match for the country.

“Unfortunately the reality of the situation is anyway I have played my last match for India,” Bhupathi said. “I always feel like playing for India. Tennis is an individual sport and we barely get to represent the country once or twice a year. Two years is a long time,” he stated. Bhupathi also made it clear that 2013 will be his last year on the ATP tour. The multiple Slam winner said that he wasn’t even sure if he would be able to play a full schedule next year.

“I am at the fag end of my career. Next year will definitely be my last on tour. I am not even sure whether I am going to play a whole schedule,” he said.

Bhupathi minced no words has he launched an attack against Khanna. “He has redefined the term divide and rule and at this year’s Olympics he used Leander’s shoulder to fire the gun against me multiple times. Unfortunately the media terms this a Bhupathi-Paes rift and the true underbelly is left unquestioned.”

“As far as I am concerned, I was always banned by the AITA, they never supported anything I did for the sport, only when they couldn’t do without me and they needed the doubles point in Davis Cup, I got the email. They continue to misuse the power they have to try and teach me a lesson only because they feel I am able to do a lot more for the sports than they do and in the midst of all this, not only did we players suffer but so did the sport and in turn the country,” he said.

Feeling sorry for the way Bopanna got embroiled in the current controversy, Bhupathi said it was wise to part ways with his junior partner and allow him to play with someone as young as him in the future.

“It makes more sense for him to partner somebody as young as him for the next four five years,” he said.

Bhupathi will partner Serbian-born Canadian Daniel Nestor in the next season.

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