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Rebel tennis players approach Sports Ministry

The 11 players, led by Somdev Devvarman, issued a statement saying they wanted the ministry to find out why they were omitted for the Asia-Oceania group one tie in New Delhi from February 1-3.

“We have shared all relevant facts with the ministry and reiterated the lack of discussion and communication from the AITA (All-India Tennis Association) in relation to our suggestions. We are hopeful of a beneficial and amicable outcome that would substantially change, for the better, the system of sports administration in India,” the statement said.

The players had refused to take part in the tie if the AITA did not accept a slew of demands put forward by them.

The AITA agreed to awarding the players a higher share of the prize money from Cup matches, the appointment of a full-time physiotherapist and the players’ involvement in the choice of venues for ties. But it declined to remove non-playing captain SP Misra, as demanded by the players, who were also unhappy with the appointment of former Davis Cupper Zeeshan Ali as coach.

Ignoring the rebel players that include Somdev Devvarman, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, the AITA last week picked Leander Paes along with three unknown youngsters, VM Ranjith, Vijayant Malik and Purav Raja for the tie against the Koreans.

The AITA insisted it won’t consider the rebel players for the Korean tie. “The chapter for that tie is closed,” AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee said.

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