Disgruntled players form association
ITPA to focus on the overall development of the sport, says Somdev; AITA to wait and watch
They might have signed peace with the All India Tennis Association but that has not stopped the disgruntled players, led by Somdev Devvarman, from forming the Indian Tennis Players Association to handle “contemporary issues” that have not been addressed by the AITA.
A few days after ending their revolt and making themselves available for the Davis Cup tie against Indonesia later this year, the ‘rebels’ have now come up with the ITPA to address players’ concerns.
“A Not-for-Profit association, the ITPA is being constituted as a Section 25 Company and is built on the premise that the existing structure of tennis administration in the country does not represent or adequately address contemporary issues faced by players in the country,” the players said in a statement.
The founding members of the ITPA include Jaidip Mukerjea, Mahesh Bhupathi, Karti P Chidambaram, Enrico Piperno, Manisha Malhotra, Prahalad Srinath, Somdev Devvarman, Rohan Bopanna, Aditya Sachdeva and Mustafa Ghouse.
“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 Somdev.
Mukherjea has been made interim President of the body.
“Mr Jaidip Mukerjea, will act as interim President in the ITPA’s formative period until the General Council and the General Body of the ITPA formally meet.
“The founding member players of the ITPA believe that Mr Mukerjea will bring a balanced and objective view to the running of the organisation given his past accomplishments as a Davis Cup player and captain as well as a respected statesman,” the statement read.
“The ITPA will comprise of and has opened its membership to all current and former international and national tennis players. It will primarily function as a forum and platform to represent the professional interests of its members and, thereby, improve the standard of tennis in the country,” the players’ statement explained.
“The players constituting the ITPA membership strongly believe in the principles of self-governance and consultative dialogue in arriving at key decisions impacting professional tennis in the country,” it added.
The players said that the ITPA’s general body would take office after an election.
“All members will have equal voting rights and will participate in a democratic process to elect a General Body that will be responsible for the operations of the ITPA,” their statement said. “Modeled around the functioning of the ATP, that encourages and allows players to make decisions for the benefit of the sport, the ITPA will focus on the overall development of the sport from the players’ perspective”, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the AITA said they would wait for the association to approach the governing body for recognition and hoped it would not disrupt the ongoing discussions for a long-term understanding.
"We have heard about it. If they at all approach the federation for recognition, we will discuss it in the executive committee and convey to them our decision,” AITA chief executive Hironmoy Chatterjee said.
“For their own convenience they have formed an association and I can’t see why the federation should have any problem with it.”