Paes to lead second-string India team after players' revolt

Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:47am EST
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Leander Paes will spearhead a second-string Indian team in the home Davis Cup tie against South Korea next month following a revolt by the country's frontline players.

Eight top players, excluding 13-times grand slam doubles champion Paes, had submitted a list of demands to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) with a threat to snub the regional first round tie in New Delhi from February 1-3.

The AITA agreed to most of the demands but it was not enough to convince the disgruntled players including multiple doubles grand slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna who made themselves unavailable for the tie.

AITA chief executive Hironmoy Chatterjee said the federation had extended the Thursday deadline to Friday noon but the players did not commit to playing in the team event.

"We gave them the opportunity to reconsider their stand. We tried everything, what more could we do?" Chatterjee told Reuters by phone. "We did our best."

The AITA had agreed to the demands for a new coach, a higher share of prize money and the players' involvement in the choice of venues for ties but rejected a request to change the captain and decided to retain S.P. Misra to lead the team against South Korea.

"We agreed to give them business class airfare, we also agreed to give them a team of six. What more? We tried everything," Chatterjee said of the last-minute efforts to convince the players.

"We also agreed to name the team physiotherapist in consultation with the players."   Continued...

India's tennis player Leander Paes speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) stadium in New Delhi February 5, 2012. REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma