AITA acts tough, rejects players' demands
Indicating that it was not ready to budge under pressure from the revolting players, the AITA on Wednesday backed its Davis Cup support staff, saying it was not prepared to change the captain and the coach on the insistence of some players.
“Look, we have experts to decide on these matters. People like Misra are so experienced. Earlier, we used to get suggestions from star players such as Leander (Paes) on surface preferences. And we are doing that even today.
“But if players say that take this tie to Tripura or some other city, change the coach and captain, it can’t be done. We can consider their suggestions for surface but not the city. The respective state association also has be to ready to host a tie,” AITA Secretary General Bharat Oza told PTI.
Oza said in categorical terms that they will introduce a disciplinary code for players before the February tie against South Korea and only those who sign the code, will be able to represent the country.
“We are coming up with a disciplinary code. Whoever wants to play, will have to sign that code. The maximum, if these players do not turn up, is that we’ll lose. So be it,” Oza said.
Meanwhile, AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee, who is talking to the players on behalf of the tennis body, said some of the concerns were reasonable but not the demand to change support staff.
“What’s wrong if they ask of a regular physio. But I don’t think its reasonable to ask for coach and captain’s replacement. They should have refrained from saying this,” Chatterjee told PTI.
Somdev Devvarman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Sanam Singh, Divij Sharan and Saketh Myneni — have joined hands and sought more transparency from AITA in matters related to the functioning of India’s Davis Cup team.
Acting like school kids
Oza said the players were behaving like school kids, who often have one or other complaint against their teachers.
“If they say change the coach or captain, this is not done. There are certain number of people, who decide on this. It’s (situation) like a class room, where students complain against their teachers. We have a committee to decide on these serious matters,” Oza said.
“We are already discussing this matter but the final decision will be communicated on January 11 when we have the selection committee meeting for the next Davis Cup tie,’’ he added. The players have also demanded that their share in the revenue earned through Davis Cup ties be increased but Oza said the association does not have much money.
“We are not reserve bank. It’s difficult to raise money. Sponsors do not come easily. We do not earn much out of these ties. It’s through personal contacts in PSUs and with the MPs that we raise money.
We have to beg for money and they (players) want money through ‘Dadagiri’ (bullying),” Oza said.
Chatterjee, meanwhile, said that the players are paid according to an agreement and if they want to change it, they will look into it.
“There is a pattern that we follow. Let’s see what can be done. We have a nine-member committee and we will discuss it, he said. Chatterjee also said that the players have not threatened to boycott the Korea tie.
“They ask if we have some say, I said ‘Yes you have’. They have concerns and it’s not a big issue. There’s nothing wrong in it. They have voiced it collectively and we will take a collective decision and communicate it to them. They have some concerns but the final decision will be ours,” he said.
India play South Korea in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie from February 1 to 3.