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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 23, 2013
The acrimony within the All India Tennis Association ranks jumped a notch as the tennis body and one of its vice-presidents, Karti Chidambaram, engaged in a battle through the media on Tuesday. Chidambaram had slammed the AITA for failing to resolve the issue with 11 dissenting players, who thus made themselves unavailable for the Davis Cup tie against Korea, forcing the body to select a depleted side. He had also questioned why the team had been named much ahead of the International Tennis Federation deadline, thereby robbing both parties aof vital time to negotiate.

AITA hinted it may take a disciplinary action against Chidambaram as it has decided to discuss this issue in the next executive committee meeting on February 3.

“Mr. Chidambaram, while he was Chairman of the Davis Cup Committee, did not bring up any issues of players’ concerns with AITA,” AITA secretary general, Bharat Oza, said in a statement.

Refusing to budge

“AITA is not going to change the team for the current Davis Cup tie against Korea as that will be most unfair to the players who are practicing very hard for preparation of the Davis Cup tie. Chidambaram would have been well advised as vice president to write a letter to the AITA. Unfortunately he has written no letter to the secretary general of AITA but has gone straight to the media.”

Chidambaram hit back saying: “There are several notes during my tenure that my committee sent to AITA regarding team composition, support staff, management and other issues. It would be relevant to point that our right to give suggestions were opposed by the current chairman of the selection committee, who said that the Davis Cup committee’s job was only to raise resources.”

The AITA vice-president also said that though the body had previously announced Davis Cup teams well in advance, it was during “normal circumstances and when India was generally playing away ties.”

“I would like to point out that when AITA faced an abnormal situation during Olympics the team was selected on the last day. It is pertinent to note that for the away tie against Taiwan the Australian team was announced only today,” he added.

India is scheduled to play an Asia-Oceania Group I tie against Korea in New Delhi from February 1-3.