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Duo can appeal against ban: AITA

Bhupathi & Bopanna

New Delhi: Rattled by Mahesh Bhupathi’s scathing attack, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Wednesday replied that Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna can appeal against the ban although there are little chances that the disciplinary action will be repealed.

“Whatever Mahesh said was unfortunate,” said a senior AITA official.

“The only way that Mahesh and Rohan can make amends is by appealing against the decision.

“If they make an appeal, the executive committee might give the decision a rethink. Otherwise, the duo will have to sit out of the national team till June, 2014.”

The AITA on Wednesday was at pains to defend its president Anil Khanna who had been accused by Bhupathi of running the association like his personal fiefdom.

AITA secretary-general Bharat Oza said Khanna was not in favour of ousting Bhupathi from the national team.

The AITA, in a release, stated: “This note is sent on request of executive committee members who feel that unwarranted insinuations are made on the president of AITA and thereby implying that others are his stooges.

“An unanimous decision or a majority decision does not mean that it is taken by Mr. Khanna only.

The fact in this case is that unfortunately he was in minority in this decision (to ban Bhupathi and Bopanna) and he had to go with the majority opinion and had to agree with it.”

Asked whether the release meant that Khanna was in favour of letting off the two players, senior AITA member Colonel Ranbir Chauhan said he was in no position to answer the query.

“You have to ask Khanna about it,” he said.

When pointed out the AITA boss was not available for the last couple of days, Chauhan said: “He would certainly return your call.”

Chauhan said AITA was a professionally managed organisation. “India are placed first in Asia if you look at the number of the players in the top-500 in the world.

“India won a number of medals in the last Asian Games with a young team.

“Leander (Paes), Mahesh and Rohan were then busy playing the Masters.

“The way our developmental programme is going, we should have a number of players in the top 100 in the next 10 years,” he claimed.