New Delhi: Taking strong exception to the comments made by its own vice president, the All India Tennis Association on Friday said it was "unethical" to label the team selected for Davis Cup tie against Korea as "third rate" and that the young players were being misled.
AITA vice president Karti P Chidambaram, who is considered to be anti-AITA top brass, had written to Sports Ministry about the selection and had described the chosen team as third-string.
Chidambaram, lending support to 11 revolting players, sought government intervention in resolving the ongoing crisis as he questioned the logic behind selecting a weak team.
"It is unethical and inappropriate for any official of AITA or any player to call the Davis Cup Team against Korea a 3rd rate team or 3rd class team," AITA Secretary General Bharat Oza said through 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. VM Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik are equally good singles players. 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 statement added.
Karti Chidambaram is also vice president of Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), which does not endorse the working style of the national federation.
TNTA had also shot a letter to AITA, seeking several explanations on the recent controversy. TNTA had asked why Ramkumar Ramnathan (789) was not selected as reserve since he is higher-ranked than Arjun Kadhe (1107), who was selected.
AITA said Ramanathan was also considered and "will surely get his chances" and added that in the tie against Brazil in Chennai, TNTA had included Ramkumar and Mohit Mayur in the squad training with the Davis Cup Team.
Making an apparent reference to Yuki Bhmabri, Vishnu Vardhan, Jeevan Nedunchezhian, Sanam Singh and Sriram Balaji, who all are part of the 11-member rebel group, AITA said they were being misled but did not mention by whom.
"It is unfortunate that, it this particular instance, promising young players have been misled and since a trust deficit has been created in the minds of the young players, 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 do's and don'ts and fair distribution of prize money can be arrived at on a long term basis."
Further defending its early selection when the deadline to submit the final team to ITF is January 22, AITA reasoned that it was done keeping in mind various factors.
"It is a worldwide practice not to wait for the last date to select the team as various other arrangements have to be made for the players, support staff, organizers, etc. and opportunity is to be given to the players selected to withdraw from events and to the players not selected to enter in events as planned by them many a times months in advance," Oza said in the statement.
AITA also said that if CBN Reddy, TNTA seceretary and also a member of the Executive Committee, has some alternative views, "they can be taken up in the Executive Committee Meeting scheduled on 3rd Feb 2013."