Amritraj downplays snub by Chennai organisers

Amritraj downplays snub by Chennai organisers


Sunny as ever? Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj addresses the media in Chennai on Sunday. PTI

Amritraj has been the face of India’s lone ATP event for over a decade and on Saturday his absence from the draw ceremony of the event was all too conspicuous. The Chairman of the Organising Committte Karti Chidambaram even said there was no need to invite the former India Davis Cup captain as he was no longer associated with the event.  

Amritraj urged the media on Sunday not to make a mountain of a mole hill. “Ever since I stepped down as the ATP President, my idea was to hold ATP events in India and we brought it to Delhi first and then moved it to Chennai. The idea was that the event will benefit India and the city of Chennai. This is the priority for me. People come and go but the city of Chennai and the players are benefited from this.

“I take great pride in the fact that I was able to initiate it 15 years ago and keep this event a very successful one, even winning awards along the way and made it what it is today. Having said that, there is no one individual or a group of individuals who make this event a success, it’s a team effort,” he noted.

Asked if the organisers could have handled the whole issue in a more dignified way, Amritraj struck a philosophical note. “I assumed I would be invited since I was there for 13 years. But if somebody tells me that they are going to ease me out, I would have to abide by it. There is no one particular manner to do it. But, in my opinion it is very important that the focus should be on what’s in hand and there are no fixes in holding on to positions in associations. Government changes in Delhi and in Chennai. But the most important thing is taking care of people at large,” he remarked.

Amritraj, however, maintained he wasn’t at all upset with the way he has been treated. “Very few things upset me like if Prakash had lost today. I am very much here. I am going to give television commentary. If they want me to do anything, I am willing to do.

“In many people’s eyes I would be a mascot of this event since I was responsible in its success all these years. Obviously, I was not invited by the organising committee for the draw. I was there more as a face of the tournament and it helped.  May be a lot of things I do don’t help,” he noted.

He also said he wasn’t upset at all with his son Prakash not getting the wild card.

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