All India Tennis Association vice-president Karti Chidambaram has criticised the association’s handling of the selection of the Indian Davis Cup team for the tie against Korea.
In an open letter to the other vice-presidents of the AITA, Karti questioned why the selection meeting couldn’t have been postponed given the national body was facing an “abnormal situation”.
He dismissed secretary general Bharat Oza’s contention that the team had been announced early to help players plan their tournament schedule.
“He is probably unaware that no ATP tournaments are held in the week of the Davis Cup, and further there are no ITF Futures or Challengers of any significance in our part of the World during this week,” Karti wrote.
“The AITA had to announce the team…only on January 22. It is only the obstructionist attitude of the senior AITA functionaries which played a role in the fixing of selection meeting on January 11 while negotiations with the players were still underway.”
Karti wrote that the AITA hadn’t done enough to resolve the issue.
“Somdev Devvarman was available in Chennai for almost 2 weeks during the Chennai Open. During this period, the CEO of AITA (Hironmoy Chatterjee) hardly spent one hour or so in meeting Somdev. When his meeting with Somdev did not produce the desired results on December 30, he could have stayed back or come back again to Chennai for another meeting as Somdev left only on January 8 for Australia.”
Karti also wrote that Chatterjee’s appointment as CEO was not “legally valid” as it wasn’t “as per the rules and regulations of AITA”. He added that Chatterjee’s “position of CEO of AITA and President of Bengal Tennis Association involves a major conflict of interest”.
Karti insisted the chairman of the selection committee “must also be an ex-Davis Cup player”, writing that the rules allowed a non-executive committee member to be selection committee chairman.
He also questioned AITA’s reasons for selecting Arjun Khade over the higher-ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan in the team.
In closing, Karti appealed to the players to reconsider their boycott, pointing out that there was still time since “ITF rules allow for two of the four nominated players to be replaced by the captain one hour before the Draw ceremony”.