Indian tennis body sore with ITF for letting Australia off lightly

May 23rd, 2009 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Davis Cup New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) The All India Tennis Association (AITA) Saturday expressed disappointment at Australia being let off with a mere fine for refusing to play their Davis Cup tie against India in Chennai May 8-10 and said it would take up the matter with the world body at an appropriate level.
Australia Friday escaped suspension from the Davis Cup, but was fined $10,000 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) over its controversial boycott of a third round Asia-Oceania Group I tie on grounds of security.

The decision of the Davis Cup committee can be taken up by the ITF board at its meeting during the French Open or at Wimbledon June-July and there AITA can argue its case against the mild penalty and ask for a stiffer punishment.

AITA expected Australia to be banned for one year besides being relegated to the Asia-Oceania Group II section.

AITA said the decision of the Davis Cup committee on the penalty was not unanimous.

“AITA is disappointed with the decision taken by the Davis Cup Committee and will take it up at an appropriate level in the ITF,” AITA executive director Ranbir Chauhan said in a statement.

“The decision of the committee was not unanimous and the letter is only communicating the penalties and is not giving any details of the debate and discussion which has led the Davis Cup Committee to take such a decision.”

The ITF’s five-member Davis Cup committee Friday apart from the fine also stripped the 28 times champions of the right to host the next scheduled home tie.

“The ITF’s Davis Cup committee decided that Australia would not be suspended from the 2010 competition or relegated from Asia-Oceania zone group 1,” the ITF said in a brief 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 AITA to be determined at a later date.”

The committee’s members included Australian great Neale Fraser, who did not vote on the action to be taken against his home country.

Fraser, the respected 75-year-old winner of 19 grand slam titles, argued vigorously that if any penalty is imposed, it should be minimal. He had Friday warned the ITF that the sport will suffer if Australia was banned from competing in the tournament.

“I’m definitely going to be (lobbying for) the slightest penalty possible, if there’s one at all,” said the four-time cup-winning player who also captained Australia for 24 years for four titles and the president of the Australian Davis Cup Tennis Foundation ahead of the meeting.

“I couldn’t vote but, quite clearly I didn’t agree with the team having to go to Chennai, and the decision by Tennis Australia not to go was not taken lightly, Australia being one of the oldest and one of the greatest supporters of Davis Cup,” Fraser had told the Age.

The boycott enabled India to qualify for the World Group play-off against South Africa Sep 18-20.

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