All India Tennis Association (AITA) in a committee meeting over a conference call has appointed Mahesh Bhupathi as the non-playing captain for the India Davis Cup team. In the process, Anand Amritraj will continue to hold the post for first Davis Cup tie of the year against New Zealand in the Asia Oceania zone in Pune.
For the New Zealand tie to be played on February 3-5, Amritraj and Zeeshan Ali have been retained as the captain, coach. Post that, Zeeshan will continue in his post as the coach of the team. Reports had said Somdev Devvarman had thrown his hat into the ring for the coach’s role.
AITA was keen to replace Amritraj before the next tie against New Zealand as the federation felt he had failed to impose discipline in the team despite the players backing him to continue.
Speaking in the press conference after the announcement, “Anand Amritraj’s comments in the media were discussed in the meeting. But disciplinary issues under him not an issue,” said the AITA Secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee.
The SP Misra led committee also announced the team for the New Zealand tie with Rohan Bopanna dropped in favour of the much fancied combination of Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni who had showed good tandem in the Spain Davis Cup tie. Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Yuki Bhambri, and youngster Prajnesh Gunneswaran have been named for the singes contests. Bhambri is returning to action after a lengthy lay off with a tennis elbow.
“Rohan Bopanna dropped cos Leander and Saketh made a better team. Had to choose b/w Paes & Rohan,” said Misra.