New Delhi: Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman has hit out at the All India Tennis Association, saying the AITA is to be blamed for deepening the crisis between the association and top players.
In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN, Devvarman said players were very disappointed with the AITA and there was no communication from the body on players' demands. "All the [ignored] players are very disappointed the way AITA have handled this issue so far," Devvarman said. "They [AITA] have tackled the situation unprofessionally."
The AITA on Friday had expectedly named a depleted Davis Cup squad to face South Korea, ignoring the eight revolting player for the Asia/Oceania Group I tie beginning here on February 1.
Announcing a four-man team comprising of veteran Leander Paes, Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan (517), Vijayant Malik (542) and Purav Raja (155 in doubles), the AITA vice-president Bharat Oza clarified that the ruling body had agreed to a few of the unselected players' demands.
But Devvarman confirmed to CNN-IBN that none of the players was communicated about the acceptance of demands by the AITA. "None of us have been told whether our demands were accepted or not. The last communication we got from them was through the media on January 6 when they made a huge statement."
Later on Friday, the ignored players expressed their disappointment after being kept out of the Davis Cup team. "We are disappointed to note that instead of engaging in discussion with us, the AITA has selected an inexperienced team to represent the country in this crucial Davis Cup fixture," the eleven players - Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan, Sanam Singh, Divij Sharan, Saketh Myneni, Sriram Balaji, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Vijay Sundar - said in a joint statement.
The players also said that they would not be representing India until the sports body engages with them in constructive talks. "We will be unavailable to represent the country until such time that the AITA engages with us in good faith."