Chennai left in the lurch by Australian pullout from Davis Cup

April 25th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Davis Cup Chennai, April 25 (IANS) Dubbed the “spiritual home” of Indian tennis, the city’s tennis aficionados feel let down by Tennis Australia’s decision to pull out of the scheduled Davis Cup tie against India here next month.
The decision, attributed to “security threats” to the Australian players, has evoked disappointment. Former Davis Cupper Ramanathan Krishnan said: “It is unfortunate that Australia has pulled out of the tie. We have played Australia a number of times in Madras (Chennai) and it could have been yet another good event.”

Krishnan also expressed sympathy for the locals. “Tennis loving people of Chennai has been looking forward to it. It (Davis Cup) came to Chennai after a long time of three decades in spite of elections. People are disappointed and it is a shame that they pulled out and gave a walkover. It is unfortunate,” he said.

M.A Alagappan, vice president, All-India Tennis Association and president, Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), said all arrangements for the tie were in place and that the security arrangements were reviewed.

“We were all geared up. We are disappointed. The ITF had sent its security expert. He checked the hotel, the route from hotel to the stadium, facilities at the stadium for players, public and the media. He had exhaustive discussions with the TNTA officials, police commissioner and other personnel and the secretaries of departments at the secretariat besides R.K. Raghavan, former Director of CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).

“We assured them VIP security and all the government authorities assured the security expert of VIP security to the players, spectators and the media. In fact, the ATP Chennai Open witnessed over 50 foreign players competing in it in January, which was held without any untoward incident after the Mumbai terror attack.

“If Tennis Australia still wants to keep harping on the security aspect of their visit to Chennai saying it is unsafe, then I do not know what to say. The Davis Cup is for three days and all in all a visiting team spends about a week in a city,” said Alagappan.

As part of the security arrangements, the public was to be prohibited from carrying food, beverages, bags and water bottles into the stadium, he said.

“We had made complete arrangements for the needs of spectators at reasonably lower costs in stalls at the stadium,” Alagappan said.

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