Bengaluru: It took Leander Paes around almost 24 hours to travel from Mexico, where he won an ATP Challenger event, to India. It took him little over the same time to learn that his journey across the oceans were all for naught.
Stung, following his omission from the Davis Cup team to face Uzbekistan, the veteran doubles star minced no words when asked about the situation, questioning the criteria and the consistency of the selection from non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi.
“I’m here to support the country based on the criteria I was told — which is form. That being said, the team was chosen two weeks ago based on ITF form in Futures. Whereas I, just won an ATP Challenger,” said Paes, who won the title in Mexico over the weekend playing at an altitude twice that of Bengaluru.
“Whatever the criteria is, it should be stuck by. At one time, it is based on rankings, then it is based on personal preferences. Then on who plays deuce court and ad court. Now on form,” Paes stressed.
“Mahesh is the captain — so he has the right to chose. But the criteria should be clear. You can’t be swaying based on perceptions. Here we’re playing for country, not as individuals.”
While Bhupathi stated about Paes only practicing from Wednesday and lack of practice time with the team, Paes was quick to brush it aside. “You are evaluating four players based on their ITF Futures and Rohan on not winning for the last 5-6 weeks. I do my due diligence but your (Bhupathi’s) assessment is that,” stressed the former doubles No.1. Paes will fly back to Houston for his next tournament starting Monday.