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Aussies let off with token punishment

sports Updated: May 22, 2009 23:51 IST
Deepti Patwardhan

The International Tennis Federation let Australia off with a mere rap on the knuckle, as the former Davis Cup champions were only fined US $10,000 (approximately Rs 4.70 lakh) for forfeiting their third-round tie against India on security grounds.

The Davis Cup committee, chaired by Juan Margets, waived any suspension or relegation, liable under the ITF rules, for Australia's refusal to travel to India.

"The ITF's Davis Cup Committee, in a meeting held by conference call on Friday, 22 May 2009, decided that Australia would not be suspended from the 2010 competition or relegated from Asia/Oceania Zone Group I,” the governing body said in a statement on Friday.

“Australia will lose choice of ground for their next home tie regardless of the opponent and will pay a fine of US $10,000.

Australia will also be liable for costs to both the ITF and to the All India Tennis Association to be determined at a later date.”

When contacted, the All India Tennis Association secretary general Anil Khanna declined to comment and said he would reserve judgment till they read the document “in totality.”

Former India Davis Cupper, Akhtar Ali, however said it was a token punishment for Australia. “You cannot just suspend or relegate them,” he said.

“They are a big tennis nation. They are a Grand Slam nation and multiple Davis Cup champions. Its not that the punishment is lenient; am sure even they would have put up a case. Maybe the next time they decide that they don't want to tour some country ITF may take a stronger action.”

Australia's forfeiture saw India progress to the World Group play-offs, and have drawn South Africa in an away tie to be held from September 18-20.