Rebel tennis players' revolt on hold, for the moment

New Delhi, Feb. 9 -- The eleven dissenting players are set to make themselves available for the April 5-7 Davis Cup tie against Indonesia after the All India Tennis Association sent them a written communication acceding to a majority of their demands.

In an email communication sent out on Friday, the AITA finally put their earlier verbal discussions on paper and mailed them to 18 top players.

As reported by this paper on Thursday, the players have already backed down from their demand of having a major say in appointment of captain and coach of the Davis Cup team.

While the players are yet to respond officially, those in the know told this paper that since the majority of their demands had been met, there was no reason to not play against Indonesia.

Some objections

However, there is still room for further acrimony as the players continue to raise objection to the inclusion of former captain Naresh Kumar in the three-member committee formed to interact with the players and come up with non-binding guidelines for player-AITA relations.

They have taken umbrage at a strong column on the Korea tie boycott by Kumar in a Kolkata daily and are questioning his neutrality.

Meanwhile, the man who first played Davis Cup for India in 1952 and then went on to be one of India's most respected captains is quite surprised that the players feel he may support AITA in his recommendations.

"If I am going to be biased, I'll be biased in favour of the players. That's always been the case when it has come to my dealings with the AITA. I will look to do what is right for the next generation of players and try to resolve this situation as soon as possible.

"It is important that the career of youngsters is not spoilt on account of what has been happening," said Kumar.

Wording of mail

The Kumar issue apart, players are also cagey about the wording of the mail which says that, ".it is agreed for the tie against Indonesia, pending final agreement, AITA will pay business class fare to all four players participating."

The players are not sure as to whether the concessions will last beyond the tie or whether they will be revised once the committee formulates its report in four months' time.

For now, it appears, India will be able to field its strongest challenge against Indonesia.

The federation has to submit the final squad just 10 days prior to the tie and it remains to be seen if it will wait that long.

After all, an early announcement will suit the body as it can justify the dropping of chief rebel Somdev Devvarman who at 395 is presently the sixth-highest Indian on the world singles rankings.

However, Devvarman is India's best singles option right now and if the national body waits long enough, he is likely to reflect that in an enhanced ranking too.

The present plummet has been on account of nursing a shoulder injury for the majority of last year.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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