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Stand-off in Indian tennis finally ends

Stand-off in Indian tennis finally ends

New Delhi: The month-long stand-off in Indian tennis ended Saturday with the 11 rebel players making themselves available for the Davis Cup tie against Indonesia after the All India Tennis Association (AITA) agreed in writing to their playing conditions.

The AITA Thursday gave in writing to the rebel players, led by Somdev Devvarman, an assurance that it agreed with their conditions to play. And Saturday the players made themselves available for the tie.

AITA chief executive Hiranmoy Chatterjee confirmed that the players have made themselves for the Davis Cup first round play-off tie against Indonesia at home in April.

"Better sense has finally prevailed and the players have written to the AITA that they are available for the April tie against Indonesia," Chatterjee said.

The players, led by Somdev Devvarman, ahead of last month's Chennai Open put forward a charter of demands and threatened to make themselves unavailable for India's Davis Cup tie against South Korea.

The AITA didn't agree to the players' demands in writing and the players refused the play the tie.

India had to field an inexperienced squad, with Leander Paes being the only known face, and they were thrashed 1-4 by Korea in the tie that was held here Feb 1-3.

But Thursday, the AITA gave assurances in writing, prompting the players to end their rebellion.

Somdev in a letter to Chatterjee said: "Based on your letter dated February 7, 2013, and received by us by e-mail, we would like to confirm our availability for the Indonesia tie, subject to all of the conditions in the letter being unconditionally complied with by the AITA. Given that a number of the issues that we as players have raised still remain unresolved, our confirmation of availability is limited to the said Indonesia tie."

But the players made it clear that they won't talk to the new committee formed by the AITA to make suggestions for a players' agreement. The AITA formed the committee to decide on a players' agreement with regard to national duty in the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Asian Games and Olympics.

"We would also like to mention that we are not available to talk with the new committee the AITA has formed as we feel like they comprise of people who are biased towards the AITA. However, we encourage the AITA to constantly communicate directly with the players before and during the tie to sort out issues both parties have," said Somdev.

The committee, that includes former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar, will have its first meeting Feb 22 and will submit its suggestions within four months.

The AITA is contemplating hosting the next Davis Cup tie, slated for April 5-7, at the Karnataka Lawn Tennis Association in Bangalore.

The players also agreed that Bangalore could be a good choice but feel that since the court is too fast it may not suit them.

"Thank you for consulting with us about the venue of the next tie. We think that Bangalore is a good venue for the tie. However, we have heard that the speed of the courts is extremely fast and that is not suited to our games. We would like the courts to be resurfaced and made medium paced as we feel this along with the altitude in Bangalore plays to our advantage and to Indonesia's top players' weakness," Somdev said.


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