AITA meet to discuss players' revolt

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The AITA will hold a meeting on Thursday evening to resolve the crisis, which has seen three players vowing not to play under Paes.

Updated: February 28, 2008 15:27 IST
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New Delhi:

Is the Indian tennis falling apart? The revolt against Leander Paes, the non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team, is showing no signs of dying down. But now the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has deciced to step in.

The tennis body will hold a meeting on Thursday evening to resolve the crisis, which has seen three players - Rohan Bopanna, Prakash Amritraj and Mahesh Bhupathi - vowing not to play under Paes. AITA President Yashwant Sinha, Secretary-General Anil Khanna, the Davis Cup selection committee members and various office-bearers from all over, will sit down to bring an end to the controversy that rocked Indian tennis.

According to reports, Leander will be retained as the captain and the three players who revolted against Paes, will also be retained for the tie against Japan. Karan Rastogi has already settled his differences with Paes and has said he will play the tie against Japan in April. Reportedely, the rebels will be given a chance to either bury the hatchet or decide to stick to their stand.

The rebels have maintained that they will not play under Paes' captaincy in the Davis Cup tie against Japan in April. India recently won its Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan.

Multiple grand slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi spoke to NDTV and said the Davis Cup team did not want Paes to be a non-playing captain as he already had too much on his plate. Bhupathi also said the controversy erupted because it had been leaked to the media and it was now up to the Tennis Association to defuse the situation.

Now the question is: will they continue to support Leander Paes or will the rebels have it their way?

Acording to reports in a section of the media, Paes will stay captain and the players who have demanded his resignation as the leader will also be retained in the list of options for the Davis Cup tie against Japan.

The decision would be in the best interest of Indian tennis, says an official.

The federation, however, will have to take note of Paes' public outburst against his players. This month, in the tie against Uzbekistan, Paes openly called Amritraj "unprofessional" for attending a party in the lead-up to the tie. Amritraj retaliated by calling Paes a captain who lied and did not support his team "at the time of war." He also pointed out instances in the past when Paes had demeaned him and Bopanna in the media.

The AITA could also look at getting the players to patch up. But that seems highly unlikely. With time running out - AITA have to submit the names of the players for the Japan tie to the ITF by April 1 - one would hope that politics and favouritism do not play a role in the decisions.

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  • Tennis
  • Andy Roddick
  • Lukas Dlouhy
  • Rohan Bopanna
  • Leander Paes
  • Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi
  • Maria Sharapova

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