'We won't boycott Davis Cup tie'
In a letter sent to the national tennis body on December 17 and signed by Devvarman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Sanam Singh, Divij Sharan and Saketh Myneni, the players have asked for, among other things, (i) a change in the way Davis Cup prize money is distributed, (ii) a change in support staff, (iii) a change in venues for home ties.
However, while four players from this lot — Bhambri (3), Singh (2), Vardhan (2), Sharan (1) — have hardly any Davis Cup experience, Myneni has not even played one Davis Cup tie. Obviously, these players are in no position, therefore, to suggest changes to the AITA in a tournament.
How then have they decided to do so?
One of the players, who did not wish to be named, clarified: “We realise that we are nowhere near what (Leander) Paes and Bhupathi have achieved in Davis Cup. And that’s why we do not view this (letter) as a revolt. We players would like to be on the same page both on and off the court, so if one of us (Devvarman) has any grievances, we felt we must all stand up for it together.”
The group has reportedly even threatened not to turn up for the February 1-3 Davis Cup tie against South Korea in New Delhi. The player, however, insisted they would never do such a thing. “It’s a very proud moment to represent the nation, be it at the Asian Games, Olympics or Davis Cup. There is no way we will boycott the match against South Korea. AITA have assured us that they will consider our suggestions at their Executive Committee meeting later this month.
So, the signs are good already. We realise that all our demands may not be met, but as long as the AITA is reasonable with us, we are also willing to budge,” added the player.