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Leander Paes © Gallo Images

AITA holds off recognising Indian players' body

All India Tennis Association chief Hironmoy Chatterjee said on Tuesday the national body will decide on the recognition of a newly launched players' association only after it has a clear understanding of its objectives.

"It is too premature at this juncture to consider recognising the new body," Chatterjee told The Associated Press. "They'll have to put together their rules and objectives and go through the entire process of getting a body in place before we consider recognising it."

Chatterjee said the players were yet to get in touch with the AITA.

"They have not given anything in writing yet. A clear picture will emerge only after we start interacting with them and get to know their plans," he added.

The formation of the Indian Tennis Players' Association (ITPA) was announced Monday within weeks of a confrontation between the AITA and a group of 11 players -including Somdev Devvarman and Mahesh Bhupathi -which had refused to play in a Davis Cup tie against South Korea over management issues.

The ITPA, modeled on the Association of Tennis Professionals, has opened membership for all current and former national and international tennis players in what it calls "a forum and platform to represent the professional interests of its members" with the objective of improving the standard of the game in India.

"We believe that the ITPA will provide the players a voice that will stand united in our concerns and suggestions for the improvement of the sport in the country," said Devvarman, who led the recent players' rebellion.

The 11 rebel players, who have now made themselves available for the Asia-Oceania relegation Davis Cup tie against Indonesia in April, had earlier refused to confirm their availability for the South Korea meeting even though the AITA had agreed to most of the demands over team management and prize money.

The AITA named a new coach in former Davis Cup player Zeeshan Ali and fired team doctor Vece Paes, who is the father of doubles-specialist Leander Paes. It had also announced an increase in the share of prize money for Davis Cup players.

However, the players said they were not happy with Ali as coach, wanted non-playing captain SP Mishra removed immediately and also called for more transparency in financial matters.

Paes was the only prominent player in a depleted India team that subsequently lost 4-1 to the Koreans.

VM Ranjith and Vijayant Malik lost both their singles matches while Purav Raja partnered Paes in the only win for the home side.


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