India officials move to defuse Davis Cup row
India's tennis chiefs on Sunday attempted to end a simmering Davis Cup row with the country's players by agreeing to most of their demands ahead of next month's tie against South Korea.
Eight India players, headed by Somdev Devvarman, had last week threatened to boycott the Asia-Oceania group one tie in New Delhi from February 1-3 if a slew of demands made by them were not accepted.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Sunday accepted the demand for higher prize money, a change in the squad's support staff, appointment of a fulltime physiotherapist and the players' involvement in the choice of venues for ties.
It announced that former Davis Cup competitor Zeeshan Ali will replace Nandan Bal as the India team's coach, but decided that Shiv Mishra will continue in his role as non-playing captain at least for the Korean tie.
The association, in an email to players that was also released to the media, said it had written to the sports ministry to appoint a new team doctor in place of Vece Paes and a new physiotherapist in place of Sanjay Singh.
It also agreed to give the players 70 percent of the prize money earned from home ties instead of the former 50 percent. For away ties, the entire prize money will paid to the players as before.
Players will be consulted on deciding the choice of courts and venues for future Cup ties, the AITA statement said.
There was no immediate response from the players on the AITA's decisions.
The association's selection committee is due to meet on January 11 to pick the squad for the Korean tie.
Among those supporting Devvarman's stance were senior players Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, but former captain Leander Paes was not part of the group.