Pune: Mahesh Bhupathi’s impact on the Davis Cup team has come about before he is expected to step in as captain of the team.
Shortly before the ongoing first round Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie against New Zealand in Pune, Bhupathi’s sportswear company ‘Zeven’ struck a deal with the AITA to be the team’s apparel sponsors.
Bhupathi, who will step in as the captain of the Davis Cup team for their tie in April, serves as a director of the company along with his sister Kavita throwing open the argument of a possible conflict of interest. The AITA however, maintains there is no conflict of interest.
“I don’t think so (it’s conflict of interest). It’s not only Mahesh’s company, lots of other people are involved in it as well,” asserted Hironmoy Chatterjee, general secretary of the AITA. “For a while we had been looking for an apparel sponsor, and they came forward when nobody else did.”
The company, which was launched just last year, has earlier struck deals with tennis players likes Rohan Bopanna, Saketh Myneni and Purav Raja, besides Royal Challengers Bangalore. In December, the company roped in Ravindra Jadeja as well.
Meanwhile, according to the company website, Ravi Shastri is the ‘advisory board member.’ Even though all the players have their individual sponsors, Zeven is now the official apparel sponsor for the Davis Cup team. “We’re trying to make it more permanent, but for now it’s a one-year deal. We hope to take it forward after that,” Chatterjee added.