Sensing little give from the national tennis federation, the 11 protesting players have now written to the sports minister, Jitendra Singh, to intervene on their behalf.
To recall, the players have declined to play for India unless the federation is willing to evolve into a more
professional body with increased transparency.
They have pointed out to the minister that they failed to understand why the All India Tennis Association (AITA) wanted to select a team by January 11 when the deadline is 10 days prior to the February 1-3 tie.
Their immediate concern is as to why India is fielding a third-string team when they are willing to play in the wake of the federation’s climbdown to concede their major demands dealing with parity in treatment to Davis Cup squad members and a team of six players to ensure adequate exposure for the next rung.
Word from the ministry suggests that while it is not given to interfering in the selection processes of various federations, this is a question of whether India is fielding its best challenge against a visiting side on home soil or not. The ministry has also begun the process of crosschecking as to just who is to blame for the present impasse.
The ministry is also wary as to why there are consistent problems cropping up with the tennis federation and why there are so many controversies with players.
In a related development, the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association has written a strong mail to the parent body, AITA, raising queries as to how the selection process unfolded. It has specifically asked about why its player Ramkumar Ramanathan has not been selected. Ramkumar, at 789, is far higher ranked than Arjun Kadhe, one of the reserves, at 1107.
Questions have also been raised on the legitimacy of the selection process since AITA CEO, Hironmoy Chatterjee, was present at the meeting without there being any such provision in the body’s constitution.
When HT spoke to the selectors, past and present, most admitted that the meeting is largely farcical as they are given directions as to just who to choose. Two major meetings — for the London Olympics and the latest Davis Cup selections — were impacted by directions from the executive committee.