AITA holds off recognizing Indian players’ body

All India Tennis Association chief Hironmoy Chatterjee said
Tuesday the national body will decide on the recognition of a newly
launched players’ association only after it has a clear
understanding of its objectives.

”It is too premature at this juncture to consider recognizing
the new body,” Chatterjee told The Associated Press. ”They’ll
have to put together their rules and objectives and go through the
entire process of getting a body in place before we consider
recognizing it.”

Chatterjee said the players were yet to get in touch with the
AITA.

”They have not given anything in writing yet. A clear picture
will emerge only after we start interacting with them and get to
know their plans,” he added.

The formation of the Indian Tennis Players’ Association (ITPA)
was announced Monday within weeks of a confrontation between the
AITA and a group of 11 players -including Somdev Devvarman and
Mahesh Bhupathi – which had refused to play in a Davis Cup tie
against South Korea over management issues.

The ITPA, modeled on the Association of Tennis Professionals,
has opened membership for all current and former national and
international tennis players in what it calls ”a forum and
platform to represent the professional interests of its members”
with the objective of improving the standard of the game in
India.

”We believe that the ITPA will provide the players a voice that
will stand united in our concerns and suggestions for the
improvement of the sport in the country,” said Devvarman, who led
the recent players’ rebellion.

The 11 rebel players, who have now made themselves available for
the Asia-Oceania relegation Davis Cup tie against Indonesia in
April, had earlier refused to confirm their availability for the
South Korea meeting even though the AITA had agreed to most of the
demands over team management and prize money.

The AITA named a new coach in former Davis Cup player Zeeshan
Ali and fired team doctor Vece Paes, who is the father of
doubles-specialist Leander Paes. It had also announced an increase
in the share of prize money for Davis Cup players.

However, the players said they were not happy with Ali as coach,
wanted non-playing captain SP Mishra removed immediately and also
called for more transparency in financial matters.

Paes was the only prominent player in a depleted India team that
subsequently lost 4-1 to the Koreans.

VM Ranjith and Vijayant Malik lost both their singles matches
while Purav Raja partnered Paes in the only win for the home
side.