Players' issues could have been handled better, says Karti | sports | Hindustan Times
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Players' issues could have been handled better, says Karti

sports Updated: Jan 21, 2013 23:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Not just the rebelling players, even the top-notch officials in the All India Tennis Association aren't happy with the course of events ahead of the Davis Cup tie against South Korea, which will be played in New Delhi from February 1-3.

Eleven of India's top players, excluding Leander Paes, had listed specific issues – ranging from increased share in the earnings to change in captain and coach – they had with the functioning of the Davis Cup team. With the AITA failing to strike a compromise, the players made themselves unavailable for the tie.

"Somdev Devvarman was available in Chennai for almost two weeks during the Chennai Open," Karti Chidambaram has written in an email to fellow AITA vice-presidents, questioning the handling of the issue by the national tennis body.

"During this period, the CEO of AITA (Hironmoy Chatterjee) hardly spent one hour or so in meeting Somdev. When his meeting with Somdev did not produce the desired results on December 30th, he could have stayed back or come back again to Chennai for another meeting. It is therefore clear that when Somdev was in Chennai for such a long period the AITA senior management made no effort to resolve the pending issues."

Chidambaram also questioned why the AITA had named the squad on January 11, when the International Tennis Federation needed the team list only 10 days ahead of the tie.

Unwarranted hurry
"AITA had to announce the team for the Korea tie only on January 22nd," he added. "AITA was faced with a major problem that all the four players who helped India beat New Zealand and the fit Somdev Devvarman refused to play the Korean tie. Everyone will recall that the Indian team for the London Olympics was announced on the last day.

"The secretary general claims that the team was announced early to help players withdraw or participate in various other tournaments.

"He is probably unaware that no ATP tournaments are held in the week of the Davis Cup. It is also relevant to point out that the tie will be held in India and hence there was no need to give time for the players to obtain visas. It is only the obstructionist attitude of the senior AITA functionaries, which played a role in the fixing of selection meeting on January 11th while negotiations with the players were still underway."

Chidambaram's scathing assessment of AITA's functioning echoes the players' stand that the tennis body had been "unprofessional" in its dealings.

The beleaguered association has been on the back-foot ever since the unsavoury events ahead of the London Olympics, and it looks like it has another fight on its hands: From its own officials.