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Game, set and match for Bhupathi

Game, set and match for Bhupathi
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Twelve-time Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi, who's in the twilight of his international career, said on Tuesday that he had probably played his 'last' match for India.

At loggerheads with AITA following the well-chronicled embarrassing selection fiasco ahead of London Olympics, Bhupathi was slapped a two-year ban by the game's governing body last week. On Tuesday, a day after expressing his desire to take legal action against AITA, Bhupathi told mediapersons, 'Unfortunately, I have played my last match for India.'

Already 38, Bhupathi feels it won't be possible for him to represent the country after serving the two-year ban. 'Tennis is an individual sport and we barely get chance to represent the country frequently. Two years is a long time,' said Bhupathi, who made it clear that 2013 will be his last year on the ATP tour.

Expressing disappointment over Rohan Bopanna getting embroiled in the current controversy, Bhupathi said, 'It makes more sense for him to partner somebody as young as him for the next four five years.


BHUPATHI LASHES OUT AT AITA’S DICTATORIAL ATTITUDE

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 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. 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.

‘I always feel like playing for India. I was available for the tie last week but no one from AITA asked me. I actually got an email about the ban from a press person. Didn’t hear anything from AITA.
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