The secretary general of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Bharat Oza, announced here on Sunday that the AITA would form a comprehensive code soon, and would have it signed by the players whenever they represented the country for the first time in their career.
Addressing the media, Oza said that the AITA was not in a position to impose a ban on revolting players, and it could exercise its powers only on players being selected to represent the country.
“We wanted to send a message to the young players and others that this type of behaviour would not be tolerated,” said Oza, as he recalled Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refusing to partner Leander Paes for the London Olympics.
He said that it was a kind of disciplinary action that Bhupathi and Bopanna would not be considered for representing the country till June 30, 2014.
Oza did clarify that no player selected himself, but conceded that the AITA could appreciate the stand and situation of Paes and thus accepted his non-availability on emotional grounds.
“We could have put our foot down, if required. World Team Tennis will have stand-by players. Paes was hurt and emotionally drained. His was not a case of indiscipline,” asserted Oza, as he clarified AITA’s stand, and the argument that how could the multiple Grand Slam champion put club before country
Oza stressed that Somdev Devvarman had not fully recovered after the shoulder surgery, and had conveyed so. He felt that the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist, Devvarman had played the US Open recently merely for ‘monetary benefit’, with his ‘injury protected ranking’.
Stating that the AITA rules had scope for taking disciplinary action, Oza further clarified that there was no mention about the period of ineligibility.
“We will make the code of conduct in the next three months,” he said.
He also stressed that the decision to keep away two of the world’s finest doubles players was not entirely dependent on the performance of the young team in the Davis cup tie against New Zealand, but insisted that it only enhanced the confidence of the AITA that the future of Indian tennis was in safe hands.