Indian tennis star Bhupathi lashes out after ban

Tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi lashed out Tuesday at India's tennis association and said he was considering legal action after he was slapped with a two-year ban on playing for his country.

Doubles specialist Bhupathi, 38, accused the "dictatorial" All India Tennis Association of having a "vendetta" against him, after he and Rohan Bopanna were barred from representing India in the Davis Cup until mid-2014.

"At the twilight of my career to face a ban on playing for my country and termed a traitor is unacceptable to me," he told reporters in Mumbai.

"As far as the ban goes, I don't know if we have an option to not accept it but I know we are definitely pursuing a legal option," he said.

IATA banned Bopanna and Bhupathi after they announced ahead of the London Games they would not partner with veteran Leander Paes at the Olympics for personal and professional reasons.

Paes was ultimately paired with the lower-ranked Vishnu Vardhan, and Bhupathi and Bopanna played together. Neither pair progressed from the early rounds.

Bhupathi, a doubles specialist with numerous Grand Slam titles under his belt, said he wanted to know who would hold the AITA to account, criticising in particular its chief Anil Khanna, who has "redefined the term divide and rule".

"They continue to misuse the power they have to try and teach me a lesson only because they feel I'm able to do a lot more for the sport than they do," Bhupathi said.

"The question is, who is going to take them to trial, and for the nation's sake someone needs to," he said.

Paes and Bhupathi formed a long-standing and highly successful team for years, winning Grand Slam doubles titles at the French Open in 1999 and 2001, and Wimbledon in 1999. They broke up as a full-time pair in 2002.


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