“I’m shocked to hear this… it’s a very sad situation for Indian tennis. A revolt at this stage (India have a Davis Cup fixture against South Korea in Delhi on February 1 to 3) is absolutely unwarranted for,” Misra told MiD DAY from Hyderabad yesterday.
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. On Sunday, the AITA accommodated most of these demands by replacing coach Nandan Bal with Zeeshan Ali, removing Dr Vece Paes and physiotherapist Sanjay Singh and even increasing the players’ share in the Davis Cup prize money. However, the eight players led by Somdev want all their demands to be fulfilled.
The AITA however, is refusing to give in this time, and believe that players should not be administrators, selectors and play at the same time. The sport’s national body has also reacted very strongly to the players’ threat of not turning up for the Davis Cup tie against South Korea if their demands are not met.
“We have a selection meeting on January 11 and if players want to play they will have to make themselves available. If they do not want to play, it’s their choice,” AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee told PTI.
Misra however felt that there’s more to the current issue than what meets the eye. “In my last five years as captain, not once have any of the players brought up any such problem, so I don’t understand from where all this has suddenly cropped up. I don’t know who is behind all this,” said the 70-year-old non-playing captain, who had resigned from his post following the players’ demands, but was asked to continue by AITA at least until the South Korea match.
Reacting to the AITA’s stern warning to the players on selection for the upcoming Davis Cup tie, Misra said: “I have always kept the association and the country’s best interests in mind, and that’s why I decided to continue at AITA’s behest. However, I think the younger players (among the eight) are not doing their career any favours by this.
“As captain and as an employee of the AITA, I will lead any team given to me against South Korea and ensure we give it our best shot. Though I have to admit that with the current team we should have been able to comfortably beat the Koreans.”