India’s doubles star Rohan Bopanna yesterday said he was hopeful that the All India Tennis Association will welcome the formation of the country’s first ever Indian Tennis Players Association (ITPA) by the ‘rebel’ group comprising some of the top tennis stars, who stayed away from the Davis Cup tie against South Korea citing differences with the national tennis body. India played the Koreans with a set of rookie players, with Leander Paes being the only senior member, and lost 1-4. Thereafter, the AITA gave in to a few of the revolting players’ demands, following which they made themselves available for the Davis Cup fixture against Indonesia in April.
“The AITA should welcome the formation of the ITPA as a players’ collective is good for the sport,” Bopanna, who is among the founding members of the ITPA, besides former Davis Cup captain Jaidip Mukerjea, Mahesh Bhupathi, Enrico Piperno, Manisha Malhotra, Prahalad Srinath, Somdev Devvarman, Aditya Sachdeva Mustafa Ghouse and AITA vice-president Karti Chidambaram, told MiD DAY yesterday. Mukerjea has been appointed ITPA’s interim president.
In a press release, sent out yesterday the ITPA said that its membership is open to all current and former international and national tennis players and that 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.
Bopanna (32) added: “The ITPA is of the players, by the players and for the players. It is a collective decision of all founding members. It is a forum for tennis players, both past and present and open to all Indian nationals over 18, both men and women, who have played international, national or state-level tournaments.”
Finally, the Bangalorean said the ITPA’s future tasks would also include a review of things at the grass-root system. “In due course, the ITPA will definitely work towards not only spotting young talent but also going ahead at nurturing it,” Bopanna concluded.