The conflict between a group of rebel Indian players and the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has heightened, with the association refusing to allow players seats on the Executive or Selection Committees unless they are formally elected.
The Indian press reports that player Somdev Devvarman had asked AITA to re-constitute its Executive and Selection Committees by having 50 percent player representation in both bodies, but his request was denied.
The AITA also said that the three-member committee it formed to address the ongoing dispute over working conditions, and the players having more input into the team’s decisions, would continue to meet, with or without the rebel players’ input.
The eight male players who have been battling the AITA decided not to make themselves available for Davis Cup against South Korea last weekend, so the association was forced to named a team that included doubles veteran Leander Paes and three players ranked outside of the Top 500. The team lost 4-1.
Notable Indian players Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman, and Rohan Bopanna are involved in the protest.
AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee told PTI that AITA had agreed to most of the players’ earlier demands, including an increased share of Davis Cup prize money, a change in support staff, and consultation over playing surfaces.
“We want to resolve it honestly but I think the players have agreed to only disagree. Some people are playing petty politics from outside and in the process they are jeopardizing the careers of several players,” Chatterjee said.
Bhupathi responded harshly on Twitter, saying: “Dear CEO of AITA Stop Lying blatantly to the public to make yourself look good. It’s going to catch up with you in some form sooner or later!”