New Delhi: Changing its stance towards Somdev Devvarman's pulling out of the Asian Games squad, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Friday said it supports the step taken by the top singles player of the country.
AITA President Anil Khanna said the body understands that it was important for Somdev to be in the top-100 chart and if he again succeeds in getting into that elite bracket, that would also be a "service to the nation".
"The captain (Anand Amritraj) has supported Somdev's decision and we endorse that," Khanna told reporters.
"Somdev has served the nation in the Davis Cup. He has won two gold medals at the Asian Games and if he reaches the top-100 and play at Grand Slams, that would also be a service to the nation. Top 100 players make money in tennis and our players need to earn money. Somdev has our support," he said.
Khanna's comments have come two days after AITA had termed Somdev's decision as incorrect and disappointing.
Asked if AITA was aware of Rohan Bopanna's availability for the Asian Games, Khanna said the captain was communicating with the players.
Bopanna is learnt to be weighing the option of whether to skip the Asian Games for the ATP tour, where he can earn valuable ranking points during that period.
Somdev, who has dropped out of top-100 chart and consequently missed out on a direct entry into the US Open, has decided to play on Tour to improve his ranking.
Asked what forces players such as Somdev to say that they play for the nation and not for AITA, Khanna said the players indeed turn up only for the country.
"We as a Federation only represent the country and we just name the team, the players do not play for us but for the country," he said.
In lighter vein, Khanna said they are hoping that world number 1 Novak Djokovic would reach the US Open final and thus would not play in the play-off tie against India, enhancing the country's chances of qualifying for the elite 16-nation World Group.
"Team is geared up for the tie, let's keep the morale high," he concluded.