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Oz fined for Davis Cup forfeit against India

Reuters
May 22, 2009 at 10:44pm IST

London: Australia avoided a ban but were fined $10,000 by the world governing tennis body on Friday for forfeiting their zonal Davis Cup tie against India this month because of security concerns.

"The ITF's Davis Cup Committee decided that Australia would not be suspended from the 2010 competition or relegated from Asia/Oceania Zone Group I," the International Tennis Federation said in a statement.

"Australia will lose choice of ground for their next home tie regardless of the opponent and will pay a fine of $10,000. Australia will also be liable for costs to both the ITF and to the All India Tennis Association to be determined at a later date," the statement said.

RAINED OUT: File photo of a rain-soaked tennis court being cleaned during the Chennai Open tennis tournament.

Tennis Australia (TA) had asked the ITF to move the May 8-10 Asia/Oceania tie out of Chennai but their request was rejected.

"It would be irresponsible of us to send our players into an area of such high risk. Davis Cup is very important to us but some things are more important than tennis," Tennis Australia President Geoff Pollard said last month.

Security for sports teams in the sub-continent has been questioned following the ambush of the Sri Lanka cricket team's bus in Lahore, Pakistan, in March.

The Indian cricket board moved the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 league to South Africa after the government said providing security would be a problem due to a clash of dates with the General Election.

Security inspection

India also remains nervous after militants killed more than 150 people in a three-day attack in Mumbai in November.

The ITF had carried out its own security inspection in Chennai and had declared the city and venue, which also staged an ATP tournament in January, safe.

Australian officials had been bracing themselves for a stiff penalty since under ITF rules the 28-times Davis Cup champions could have been suspended for a year.

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash had told Australian media: "I think they may want to prove a point really to show the rest of the world that you can't pull out of Davis Cup just because you want to."

However, it appears Australian Neale Fraser's call for a "reasonable outcome" was heeded by his fellow members on the Davis Cup committee.

The former Wimbledon and US Open champion was one of five people at the meeting held by conference call but Fraser did not take part in the voting.

It is the second time this year that the ITF has punished a country for breaching its rules.

Last month the ITF banned the city of Malmo from hosting future Davis Cup ties for five years and fined Swedish tennis officials $25,000 after the host nation decided to stage a World Group tie against Israel behind closed doors.

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