New Delhi: As Anand Amritraj prepares to bid goodbye to his role as Davis Cup non-playing captain, Mahesh Bhupathi, is all set to replace him. But the transition is not taking place on a sweet note.
Amritraj’s tenure will expire this month, three years after his appointment, but he wanted a year’s extension from the All India Tennis Association. The Aita, however, turned a deaf ear to his request.
India’s Asia/Oceania zone first round tie against New Zealand in Pune from February 3 to 5 will be Amritraj’s last in the position. In a chat with this paper he shared his views on being booted out as the captain, his successor Bhupathi and future plans among others.
On Bhupathi becoming Davis Cup captain: I cannot say whether he will be successful or not as a captain. Only time will tell. He and Leander have had a very long and tough relationship. They are not really the best of friends. I know from the last 20 years, they have not been the best of friends. So I do not know how that is going to carry on with the team. But one thing I will say is that since he is coming after me and considering what we have done so far, he will have a very hard act to follow.
We had three very good years considering the team we had. Lets see how he does. I am curious to see how he and Leander will manage together. Not only me, the whole country is ready to see this.
On his removal: I am not happy at all since the AITA has still not given me a good reason for taking me out. Nobody has given me a good reason. First it was indiscipline, then they said no, that’s not it. Now they are saying some committee members wanted to give someone else a chance which is complete nonsense.
Now it is again indiscipline. What is the reason for a change when the team has done so well? I think they do not know the exact reason. Nobody does. They say one thing one day and another thing another day. So I am not happy with that because I had asked for one more year and I got one more match. Why?
On Rohan Bopanna being left out of the NZ tie: I wanted three singles players in the team. So there is only one slot for a doubles specialist. So the selection committee had to pick between Leander Paes and Rohan and they chose Leander. That is how Rohan got left out but he is not happy because his ranking is much higher than Leander.
He told me ‘how come I did not get picked’. I said it was not my call, but that of the selection committee.
On his last match as captain: This match is very important to me obviously because I would like to leave with a win. We barely won 3-2 in New Zealand last year. They are very tough. That’s why I need three good singles players. We have a very good doubles team also. I would like to leave with a win and on a high.
On his future plans: I have so many things that I have not done for the last three years which I would like to do. For the last three years I have been very busy with the team. I enjoyed being Davis Cup captain. But it is not going to change my life. I do a lot of travelling, I do two cruises a year. I do a lot of charity tennis tennis tournaments that I play in. So I have a busy life. I will miss it, but its not going to change my life all that much.
On Somdev’s retirement: In October I had tried to persuade him to start again. He thinks that it is very hard to come back after being out for a year. It is difficult, but I kept telling him that he should come back and we need him. I have not spoken to him since October.