Mumbai, Feb. 5 -- The Davis Cup defeat against South Korea has been a tough pill to swallow. Not least of all for the eleven players who made themselves unavailable for the tie with All India Tennis Association failing to strike a compromise and the media labelling them as 'rebels.'
"Personally, it was disappointing for me to stay away and watch India lose," said Vishnu Vardhan, one of India's top players.
"I thought I was in really good form leading up to the tie so it was sad to miss out."
The makeshift side that took on South Korea in New Delhi this weekend went down 1-4 to mark one of the gloomiest times in the country's sport.
For most, the biggest disappointment was that India had to suffer defeat against what was a beatable opposition had they played full-strength. It is a massive step back for India in Davis Cup since less that two years ago they were competing in the elite 16-team Davis Cup World group.
"Guys like Vishnu and Yuki (Bhambri) know their players. They have played (Ji-Sung) Nam (one of Korea's singles players) and (Suk-Young) Jeong and have beaten them in the past," said Divij Sharan.
"I don't know whether I would have been in the final squad, but all of us do want to represent the country."
Blow for Youngsters
The blow of going against the national tennis body could likely be felt more by the younger lot like Vardhan and Sharan, both of whom made their Davis Cup debut in the previous tie against New Zealand last September.
"It was supposed to be only a discussion between the AITA and the players. We never expected that it would go to this extent. We are not rebels. It was an unfortunate situation, but right now all the players are standing together. We are all on the same page and hope that the changes will be made," added Vardhan.
The players are hopeful that the independent committee, comprising of former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar, former Supreme Court judge, Justice Deepak Verma, and retired bureaucrat MC Gupta, are able to facilitate dialogue between the two parties.
Communication was the key element missing when the association and players first came at loggerheads.
Whether this panel will bridge that gap or serve as a quick-fix to the allusion of moving forward remains to be seen.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.