Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman, who is leading a players’ revolt against the All India Tennis Association, today lambasted the body and called it “unprofessional” and “unethical” for snubbing the rebel group.
The AITA yesterday ignored the eight revolting players, including veteran Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, and named a second-string Davis Cup squad that will take on South Korea for the Asia/Oceania Group I tie from February 1 to 3.
The move came after the revolting players failed to make themselves available within a set deadline.
“The things that AITA have done last week have been unprofessional and unethical. Players are disappointed,” Somdev said from Melbourne.
“I think AITA have made a lot of claims and everything but the truth is we haven’t got anything in writing. That is the thing players have asked for, we want that in writing because it would be foolish, given the history of AITA, to go into an agreement based on faith.
“Nothing came in writing, I can guarantee you that. The last e-mail that we received was on January 6 and that had nothing of the things that they said in the press release yesterday. It just goes to show what sort of federation they are,” he added.
Somdev said the players have asked for just basic rights and want the AITA to deal with them professionally.
“It is simple, all that players are asking is keep us in light of what is being done. We raised a few concerns and we want to be dealt with professionally.
“What we are asking is basic rights, unfortunately we are not able to communicate that properly to the executive body or selection committee or the AITA in general and it is disappointing,” he said.
Somdev said if AITA would have given everything in writing, all the players would have happily played the Davis Cup tie.
“If we had things in writing, if things were done professionally, 100 per cent we would have played. All the players would have made themselves available, if it was done in a professional way. But nothing was written to us by the selection committee,” he said.
“Right now, AITA has not said anything and there is zero communication and zero professionalism, regardless of what players have been saying. But honestly, I think it is a good thing because this has been going on for more than 20 years with all the players and I think now that it has come to light, someone can find a solution,” he added.
Somdev said sports administration has become a big problem in India and it was important to find a solution.
“Anybody who follows tennis can see there is a pattern and if we pay attention we will be able to find out why it is happening. The question is to look deeper and find a solution.
It is not only tennis but administration is also becoming a problem in Indian sports,” he said.
Eight players, led by Somdev, had given a five point charter of demand to the AITA last week. The other revolting players are Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Sanam Singh, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan and Saket Myneni.
The group got bigger with the inclusion of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, N Sriram Balaji and Vijay Sunder Prashanth who joined the revolting players to take the number to 11.
The depleted squad selected by AITA’s selection committee includes senior player Leander Paes, V.M Ranjit (517), Vijayant Malik (542) and Purav Raja (155 in doubles) were the other members of the squad.
S.P Misra will be the non-playing captain while Zeeshan Ali will be the coach.