India captain Mahesh Bhupathi on Saturday said he would continue giving feedback to the boys and they respect him enough to take it, amid reports of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) not wanting to extend his contract after India lost 1-3 to Italy in the Davis Cup World Group Qualifier tie here.
According to reports, the AITA is set to look for a new captain if the team remained in the Asia/Oceania Group I, as Bhupathi's term ends after the contest.
Over two days in the new format, India were outplayed by much-superior Italians in three singles ties with the hosts managing to win only the doubles rubber.
"I took this job because I knew we had a significant depth in our team. It's been a great to work with all of them at various stages," Bhupathi said at the post-match press conference when asked about his future.
"There's a lot of work to be done. There's still potential especially for the singles boys. I will continue to give my feedback.
"All of them have their team when it comes to fitness and coaching but they love engaging in debates with me and getting my inputs. The respect me enough to take my inputs, that helps the relationship as well," said the 44-year-old non-playing skipper.
World number 19 India will now compete in the Zone Group action later this year. Italy boast of three players inside top-60 but no Indian features in the world's top 100.
Asked about the road ahead, Bhupathi urged the government to support the sport as the AITA does not have the revenue source to do it alone.
"It's not easy for AITA to support them as they don't have a revenue source of money. I think the government have a lot of schemes. Not only the TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme), but also the NSDF (National Sports Development Fund).
"I think they have got a lot of schemes. The government needs to step up and support tennis. I know they are supporting a lot of sports. They are supporting hockey, wrestling, boxing... But tennis has not got that support yet."
"I know Rohan and Divij have been approved by TOPS but the singles boys need to get that support. That's the bottomline," he said.
Talking about the Italians, Bhupathi underlined their might by highlighting Andreas Seppi's three aces in a row in the second set of the reverse singles against Prajnesh.
"We got to respect the Italians. We all knew how big a heavyweight team they are. They showed that today. He (Seppi) hit five aces in a row at 5-3 when he came out to serve. That's experience, quality. You got to give them credit.
Using a popular adage, Bhupathi added that India now has three boys at the highest level, a luxury they did not have before.
"I think the story is changing. Rome was not built in a day. We have said time and time again we have got three boys who can compete at this level. We have not had that for a long time," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)