New Delhi: All India Tennis Association (AITA) Friday took a serious view of its own vice president dubbing the Davis Cup squad to play Korea as "third rate" while the union sports ministry refused to interfere in the matter. AITA vice president Karthi Chidambaram who is seen as a prime backer of the revolting players, lent his weight to their letter to the sports ministry and wanted it to intervene in resolving the crisis. Chidambaram is the son of union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
"It is unethical and inappropriate for any official of AITA or any player to call the Davis Cup Team against Korea a third rate team or third class team," AITA Secretary General Bharat Oza said in a press statement. "The team consists of Leander Paes, world No. 3 doubles player. Purav Raja is amongst the best doubles players of India and is in no way less than Divij Sharan who played for India in the previous Davis Cup tie. V.M. Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik are equally good singles players," the statement added.
"Arjun Kadhe and Ashwin Vijaraghavan are competent reserves. Arjun is two times National Junior Champion, quarter-finalist in doubles in French Open and also runner-up in 2012 Men's Nationals in Delhi." The ministry, however, just sought AITA's views on the letter. AITA informed the ministry that there is little it could do once the squad is finalized and sent to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Davis Cup committee, the ministry expressed it unhappiness over the developments.
P K Deb, secretary, Department of Sports, said that the ministry was helpless as it could not enter a domain which is strictly AITA's. "There is little the ministry could do about the selection of a team which falls under AITA's domain. All we could do was to express our unhappiness over the developments," said Deb.
AITA in the statement also said that its Executive Committee would propose a neutral committee to look into the this issue. "The Executive Committee proposes to appoint a neutral committee consisting of a Retired Judge of the High Court/Supreme Court, an eminent civil servant who understands tennis and a tennis player to deal with issues relating to Davis Cup so that a fair agreement of does and don'ts and fair distribution of prize money can be arrived at on a long term basis."
The statement also made it clear that the tennis federation would consider all players, whoever made themselves available, for the next tie. "AITA will consider all players for selection who ever make themselves available for the next tie irrespective of current standoff."