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Tennis: Want funds? Play for India, warns sports ministry

New Delhi: Taking exception to top Indian tennis players, who were reluctant to compete in the recent Asian Games, the sports ministry yesterday said individual players will be able to avail grants from it only if they are available for India when needed.

The ministry's diktat comes after players like Somdev Devvarman, veteran Leander Paes, and Rohan Bopanna refused to participate in the Incheon Asiad, citing loss of rankings points on the ATP tour. India were forced to send a second-string team to the event due to this.

The ministry had earlier issued similar instructions on July 18, 2013 to all recognised National Sports Federations.

A sports ministry release stated: "It is again made clear to all NSFs that individual players can avail grants by the ministry only if they play in the Indian team when called upon without reservations.

It was noticed, while finalising the Indian contingent for the Incheon Asiad, that senior sportspersons of some sports decided to pull out, preferring to play in prize money events instead giving the impression that they don't take these sports competitions seriously."

AITA clarifies
Following this, All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary General Bharat Oza said: "The three players represented India in the Davis Cup a week before the Asiad and India lost a very close tie to world champions Serbia. This shows their commitment to the nation."

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