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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Tennis

Humiliation complete for India on home turf
Sukhwant Basra, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 04, 2013
First Published: 00:24 IST(4/2/2013)
Last Updated: 02:01 IST(4/2/2013)

They came to our nation, played on our court and yet thrashed us soundly.

They were never challenged in singles and the ignominy only piles on further when we take into account that our number one player was beaten by a Korean who does not even figure on the world tennis ranking list.

Our man got only two games off the visitor in the span of three sets. India had to rely on a veteran aged 39 to get a solitary win in doubles. This, definitely, has to be the saddest chapter in Indian Davis Cup history.

It wouldn't hurt so much if we just didn't have the arsenal to take on the Korean might.

In fact, we have an armory of better players who could well have blown away the opposition.

It's just that they weren't present to uphold the pride of the country.

The players erred in staying away, the All India Tennis Association blundered at not getting them to come around.

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Suk-Young Jeong beat a rejuvenated VM Ranjeet 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to seal the tie while Ji Sung Nam bested Vijayant Malik 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to wrap up proceedings with a 4-1 score-line in favour of the Koreans.

Ranjeet showed much better form than he did in the opener but then that's nothing to feel too good about. At 27, he is not the future of this team.

Country Suffered
"The future of this squad is the six players who played the tie in Chandigarh (against New Zealand).

"The guys who played here also understand that they will have to make way for the better-ranked players once they are back. I wish AITA would sit down with them and sort this mess out," said a dejected captain SP Misra after the drubbing.

In the middle of the blame game between AITA and the rebellious 11, it is India that has suffered.

The sad bit is that the federation is still not willing to open fresh communication with the players who have issues with its professionalism.

This lack of professionalism is apparent in the fact that no effort was made to ensure a fast court that would have suited our present lot of players.

Slow Court
"The Koreans seemed to have home court advantage," laughed Ranjeet at the post match press interaction, "this court did not suit my game at all."

Leander Paes echoed the same on Saturday after the doubles match: "I had to bring out my B game as my chip and charge just wasn't working on this court. The Koreans obviously seem to like it more than us."

The hawks within the federation have persuaded its president Ani1l Khanna to take a strong stand against the players.

The feeling amongst the administrators is that the players are bound to buckle sooner or later.

That India is becoming the laughing stock of the international tennis community and that it will never be able to move beyond the lowest levels of Davis Cup do not seem to be a bother. Such apathy is dangerous.

Not only has the AITA been unable to come up with a sensible structure to groom and support players in all the years of its existence, now it does not even seem to care about national pride. This is the lowest low possible.


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