Australia on Saturday pulled out of next month’s Davis Cup tie against India in Chennai citing security concerns, a decision which could make them liable to a one-year suspension and hefty financial penalty.
The Australian decision came under attack from the Indian government and tennis administrators.
The announcement came barely a day after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rejected Tennis Australia’s plea to shift the Asia-Oceania Group I tie from Chennai, saying it was satisfied with the security situation in India.
“We asked for the tie to be moved because we have major security concerns for the players, particularly during the (Indian) election,” TA President Geoff Pollard said in a statement.
“The ITF decision has left us with no other option. We cannot send the team. It is extremely disappointing. It would be irresponsible of us to send our players into an area of such high risk. Davis Cup is very important to us but some things are more important than tennis,” Pollard said.
The ITF declared India the winner of the Davis Cup tie and the country will now progress to World Group Play-offs, scheduled for September 18-20. The draw will be held on May 12 at the ITF Offices in Roehampton.
The World Governing body of the game “regretted” Tennis Australia’s decision and said it will decide in “due course” if any sanctions need to be imposed on them.