: “Let us make Indian tennis happy,” proclaimed a short film that was unveiled during the press conference called to announce the newly-elected office-bearers of the All-India Tennis Association (AITA), here on Saturday.
The irony was too strong to be missed, coming as it did shortly on the heels of the much-debated doubles team selection for the London Olympics, with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi continuing to remain at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Anil Khanna, who, during the course of the annual general body meeting, evolved from the secretary's post to being the association's president, requested Bhupathi to ‘show more maturity' in dealing with the situation.
“I said this yesterday and I am repeating it now. It was always about picking the best team for the Olympics.
“Yes, we could have selected two teams, but if we had opted for Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, can we let our No.1 player Paes partner anyone?
“Somdev Devvarman is coming back from injury and at best, the second team would have been just a filler.
“We did not want that, and so we wanted to field Paes with Bhupathi.
“Considering the nature of the event where top players like Roger Federer will be around, we thought that Paes and Bhupathi had a better chance,” Khanna said.
The AITA office-bearers : President: Anil Khanna; Executive Vice-President and Secretary-General: Bharat Oza; Joint Secretary: C.S. Sunder Raju; Treasurer: Raktim Saikia; Vice-presidents: Chintan Parikh, Deepender Hooda, Dalbir Singh, Jawahar Sircar, Karti Chidambaram, M.A. Allagappan, Narendra Kumar, Pratyush Sinha, Praveen Mahajan, Rajan Kashyap;
Executive Committee members: Hironmoy Chatterjee (Bengal), A.B. Prasad (Bihar), Asit Tripathy (Orissa), T.D. Francis (Kerala), C.B.N. Reddy (Tamil Nadu).
Sharad Kannamwar (Maharashtra), Anil Dhupar (Madhya Pradesh), Suman Kapur (Haryana), C.P. Kacker (Uttar Pradesh), V.K. Batra (Delhi), Ashok Kumar (Andhra Pradesh).