I am willing to continue: SP Misra

On December 17, India tennis players Somdev Devvarman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Sanam Singh, Divij Sharan and Saketh Myneni wrote to the AITA asking for a series of administrative changes in the way the Davis Cup is handled by the national body. One of the suggestions made by the players is to replace captain Misra and coach Nandal Bal.

India’s Davis Cup captain SP Misra (left) with teammate Somdev Devvarman during the world group play-off tie against Japan in Tokyo in September 2011. Pic/AFP.

“I have not quit,” Misra stressed to MiD DAY yesterday from Hyderabad. “I’ve only offered to help the AITA by¬†giving them a free hand when they sit to discuss the players’ demands later this month. I do not want the AITA to take decisions under any kind of burden. If they want me to leave, I am fine with it and I believe they should not hesitate in conveying that to me. That’s the reason I have offered to do so,” added Misra, a former Davis Cupper who represented the country in 1969-70.

Non-playing captain Misra has been leading the Indian Davis Cup side ever since Leander Paes gave up the captaincy in 2008, and has seen a host of controversies in his tenure — mostly those involving the two stalwarts of Indian tennis Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. In fact, in the run-up to his first Olympics stint as skipper at the London Games, Indian tennis was embroiled in one of its ugliest selection rows involving Paes and Bhupathi.

It’s no wonder then that the 70-year-old is confident Indian tennis will tide over this latest row too. “I have seen a lot of controversies in my career and I’m sure, just like in the past, the AITA will take the right decisions here too. I am not hurt or angry with any of the players who have signed the letter. The players have something against the AITA and myself and Nandan are merely caught in the crossfire,” said Misra.

Speaking of his own future however Misra was not as confident. When asked if he would consider leading the team for the upcoming Davis Cup tie against South Korea in Delhi on February 1-3, he said: “I am an employee of the AITA and it is my duty to abide by their rules and regulations. So, though I would like to take a final call on the captaincy only when the time comes — after AITA’s Executive Committee meeting next week — I think I will be willing to continue if asked to do so by the AITA.”

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