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Rebel players and AITA smoke the peace pipe

The month-long stand-off in Indian tennis ended on Saturday with the 11 rebel players making themselves available for the Davis Cup tie against Indonesia after the All India Tennis Association (AITA) agreed in writing to their playing conditions.

Somdev Devvarman
Somdev Devvarman. PIC/Getty Images

The AITA on Thursday gave in writing to the rebel players, led by Somdev Devvarman, an assurance that it agreed with their conditions to play. And on Saturday, the players made themselves available for the tie.

AITA chief executive Hiranmoy Chatterjee confirmed that the players have made themselves available for the Davis Cup first round play-off tie at home in April.
“Better sense has finally prevailed and the players have written to the AITA that they are available for the tie against Indonesia,” Chatterjee said.

The players ahead of the Chennai Open put forward a charter of demands and threatened to make themselves unavailable for the tie against South Korea. The AITA didn’t agree to the demands in writing and the players refused the play the tie.

Consequently, India fielded an inexperienced squad, with Leander Paes being the only known face, and were beaten 1-4 by Korea in the tie.

Somdev in a letter to Chatterjee said: “Based on your letter, we would like to confirm our availability for the Indonesia tie, subject to all of the conditions in the letter being unconditionally complied with by the AITA. Given that a number of the issues that we as players have raised still remain unresolved, our availability is limited to the said Indonesia tie.”

The players also made it clear that they won’t talk to the new committee formed by the AITA to make suggestions for a players’ agreement.

“We would also like to mention that we are not available to talk with the new committee as we feel like they comprise of people who are biased. However, we encourage the AITA to constantly communicate directly with the players before and during the tie to sort out issues both parties have,” said Somdev.

The players also agreed that Bangalore, which may host the Indonesia tie, could be a good choice but feel that since the court is too fast it may not suit them.

What the rebel players say...
> While the players have made themselves available, their availability is limited to the Indonesia tie in April.
> The players also made it clear that they won’t talk to the new committee formed by the AITA to make suggestions for a players’ agreement.
> Courts at the Karnataka Lawn Tennis Association in Bangalore, known to be too fast, be resurfaced to suit them.

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