Top tennis players say their commitment is only for Davis Cup (Lead)August 21st, 2010 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) A trickily-worded clarification by top Indian tennis stars over their threatened boycott of the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games has led to different interpretations.
While Anil Khanna, All India Tennis Association (AITA), read the letter as their confirmation of participating in the Games, sources close to the players insist that they have not made any commitment to it and that they only stated they would be there in Chennai to play the Davis Cup tie against Brazil next month.
Technically, Davis Cuppers Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna are correct in saying that in the statement Saturday they have only referred to the Davis Cup tie, and as for the New Delhi Games, they have only sated that the sports ministry has promised to look into the issue of clearance of their bills.
Khanna in his statement said: “I am very pleased to hear about the statement of players that they are going to play in the Commonwealth Games. I was always 100 percent sure that our players who have stood selflessly by the nation for two decades will continue to serve the nation.”
Players also revealed in their communication that they have been submitting bills to the AITA officials and that they should process them quickly as an official of the sports ministry has confirmed that the payment is no issue once the bills are submitted.
“It is true that we wrote a letter to the AITA to voice some concerns we had about expenses that we were promised over the last year and a half, We have all submitted bills to various people at the AITA over this period, and now that the AITA has nominated us to represent India we requested them to make sure that the promises made are kept, we would like to put all speculation to rest and confirm we will be present in full strength to represent India against Brazil in Chennai in September,” the players’ release said.
“As for the CWG, Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar (sports ministry joint secretary) has confirmed to us personally there will be no issues on payments once the AITA releases all the bills we have submitted over time and more.”
The players were also upset that their communication with AITA over the dues was made public.
“The issue was meant to be a private matter between the players and the Federation and it deeply disturbs us that our communication to the AITA was sent out to the media from the AITA office. We had no intention to create media frenzy, we just wanted to make sure we get what is due to us.
“We are hopeful that our genuine concerns will be addressed by our federation transparently without any delay. We will continue to be committed to play for our country.”
Khanna said he and chairman CWG Preparation Programme Jaideep Mukherjea will be meeting Bhatnagar Monday to sort out players’ bills.
“As regards their grievances, these are being addressed. Jaideep Mukherjea, chairman CWG Preparation Programme, and I will meet Bhatnagar on Monday to sort out the pending issues of the players with the Ministry of Sports,” Khanna said.
Earlier, in a letter to All India Tennis Association (AITA), Paes, Bhupathi, Bopanna and Somdev threatebed a pull out from the Commonwealth Games and the Davis Cup unless their pending dues are paid.
Bhatnagar blamed the non-submission of players’ bills by AITA the reason for delay and said the ministry will be happy to reimburse the money even if some basic documents of the players’ bills are submitted.
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