Indian Tennis deadlock resolved as 'rebels' end rebellion, but discussions to continue with AITA
The star players, also expressed their satisfaction with the change in venue of the Davis Cup tie from Delhi to Bangalore after their views were heard on the venue shifting. Earlier, the AITA on Friday communicated all the offers with regard to playing conditions in writing to the rebel players and also asked for their availability for the upcoming tie against Indonesia.
The five-week long crisis, that rocked Indian tennis, was partially resolved on Saturday as the rebel players made themselves available for the tie against Indonesia, a day after AITA gave all the assurances with regard to Davis Cup playing conditions in writing.
The players, however, made it clear that their availability is only for the upcoming tie and is subject to AITA's compliance with the promises made to them.
The 11-member rebel group, led by Somdev Devvarman, has also refused to talk to the three-member committee formed by AITA to resolve the issue and also wanted to know who would replace non-playing captain S P Misra in the next assignment. (Full text of the letter from players)
Although the development is a step forward in resolving the crisis but it will take some time to reach a complete agreement between the players and the AITA
"...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 still raised remain unresolved, our confirmation of availability is limited to the said Indonesia tie," the players said in a letter to AITA.
"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," the letter added.
The AITA however was optimistic that everything will be sorted out sooner than later.
"We will continue to talk to the players. It's good that they have made themselves available. If they do not want to talk to committee, I will talk to them and the committee will talk to the other players," AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee said. The players also told the federation to keep them in loop on the replacement of captain Misra but agreed that they cannot impose their choice.
"As you have mentioned that the last tie against Korea was the farewell tie for Captain SP Misra, we would like to be kept informed about who the next candidate for the job is.
"We do not expect to have final say on the matter but hope to have our inputs seriously taken as it is the players ultimately who end up sitting next to the captain in the high pressure match situations," the letter said.
But It has been learnt that AITA is keen to persist with Misra in future but has no problem in taking input from the players in future decisions.
On the insistence of the players, AITA had relieved coach Nandan Bal, doctor Vece Paes and physiotherapist Sanjay Singh.
But AITA stuck to Misra as captain and appointed Zeeshan Ali as new coach when the players preferred Aditya Sachdeva.
The players said that they look forward to a far, reasonable and comprehensive long term understanding being formally documented after a consultative and collaborative process, involving them.
Now India can choose from among its top players for the Asia/Oceania Group I 1st round play-off tie against Indonesia, scheduled for April 5-7 in Bangalore.
In the absence of top players, India suffered a crushing 1-4 defeat against South Korea last week.
The players had put forward a charter of demands before the national tennis federation ahead of the Chennai Open.
AITA yielded to most of the demands but the players refused to play the Korea tie since they did not get a few assurances in writing.
Yesterday, AITA gave all the assurances in black and white and expectedly the players ended the rebellion.
AITA agreed to increase players' share in Davis Cup prize money, change the support staff and consult them for choice of venue and surface.
The parent body also agreed to give the players business class airfare, a six-member squad for even away ties, and agreed to consult them for the appointment of team physiotherapist.
The players have also demanded their representation in AITA Executive and Selection committees but the federation has rejected it.