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India's Davis Cup team to play under Paes in Japan tie

sports Updated: Mar 11, 2008 08:42 IST

Members of India's Davis Cup squad have agreed to play under captain Leander Paes in next month's zonal tie against Japan but are still demanding his sacking.

"With our only goal being playing for the country and with all other issues very much on the table, we look forward to playing Japan at home in April," the players said in a statement.

"And just to reiterate, the letter still stands," it added.

Mahesh Bhupathi backed a revolt against his former doubles partner by younger team mates Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna who threatened to boycott unless Paes was replaced.

But the All India Tennis Association backed Cup stalwart Paes by postponing any decision at its executive committee meeting last week.

In a stand-off which could hamper India's preparation for the Beijing Olympics, the Davis Cup players accused Paes of undermining team spirit and running them down in the media.

Paes' decision not to field Amritraj, son of former Davis Cup player Vijay, for the opening singles in an Asian zonal win over Uzbekistan last month sparked the controversy.

Paes, who won a singles bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, had accused Amritraj of lacking commitment, saying a stomach ailment before the tie was down to the player's decision to attend a party.

Amritraj, who insisted he was fit to play, clinched the decisive reverse singles after he was fielded by Paes.

Bhupathi, Amritraj, Bopanna signed the letter calling for Paes to be sacked.

"Having grown up with this dream (of playing for the country), nothing pained us more than writing the letter we did to the All India Tennis Association regarding Davis Cup," the players said in the statement read out by Vijay Amritraj, who brokered the deal with the federation.

"It was done after a lot of thought and with a heavy heart."