CHENNAI, India: India’s Davis Cup campaign was thrown into turmoil yesterday after a stand-off between players and administrators worsened ahead of next month’s tie against South Korea.
Eight players, headed by Somdev Devvarman, threatened to boycott the Asia-Oceania first-round tie in New Delhi from February 1-3 if a slew of demands made by them were not accepted.
The demands include better distribution of Davis Cup prize money, a change in the squad’s support staff, a full-time physiotherapist and the players’ involvement in the choice of venues for ties.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) said it could not accommodate all the demands, and insisted those players who did not accept a proposed disciplinary code will not be considered for selection.
The players issued a statement on Friday saying they are “regrettably, unavailable for selection” unless the AITA is willing to consider what they feel are “legitimate suggestions”. “We wish to emphatically state that all of us are united in our stand against certain practices observed in the management of the Davis Cup squad,” the players’ statement said.
“We are not looking to challenge the authority of the AITA, but are making a genuine attempt to change things for the improvement of Indian tennis.”
Devvarman added: “If, in our opinion, the AITA’s response is unfair, I will stand united with the rest of the players and continue on our pursuit for changes in the system.”
AITA chief executive Hironmoy Chatterjee said his federation had already spoken with the players, but insisted indiscipline would not be tolerated.
“They have put forward their suggestions and we will consider them,” Chatterjee said. “But I don’t think we can accept all their demands. Also we can’t force anyone to play.” The AITA selection committee is due to meet on January 11 to pick the squad for the Korean tie.AFP