Khanna backs Paes over players’ allegations


New Delhi : Defending Leander Paes against charges from Davis Cup team members of cornering credit, All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary Anil Khanna Thursday said his record in the tournament speaks for itself and there was no reason for anybody to “grudge”.

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“He is the best Davis Cup player of India. He has won 81 matches out of 111. His record speaks and I don’t think that we should grudge him,” Khanna said after an executive committee meeting discussed a letter from four players detailing their grievances and refusing to play under Paes.

“Even in cricket if somebody is nearing his double century, we allow him time to do that. If Leander is reaching a milestone, players should look up to it and see that he creates history,” Khanna said, reacting to the teamates’ charge that he runs away with all the credit by playing the fifth singles.

Asked whether the suggestion of the players to have a non-playing captain be heeded, Khanna said it was not only for the team members to decide on these things.

“We will have to speak to everybody on this issue. We used to have a non-playing captain before and the matter will be taken up later on. It should be a collective decision.”

Khanna also said Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi should put aside their differences and play for the country in the Olympics.

“We know there are certain issues between them. They do not see eye to eye on some issues. But issues are not related to tennis and they have the desire to excel in tennis. They can see eye to eye in bringing an Olympics medal for India,” he said.

He said that the AITA executive committee wanted them to play together in the Beijing Olympics in the best interest of the country.

“We want them to play in four-six tournaments before the Olympics to get their rhythm back. We have a good chance in tennis to win a Olympic medal.”