The All India Tennis Association has opted to retain S.P. Misra as the captain of the Indian Davis Cup team for the Asia-Oceania group ‘I’ tie against Korea, though it seems to have considered the various suggestions put forth by the players in a letter to the body, and agreed to some of them.

A communication from AITA general secretary Bharat Oza and the CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee — addressed to the players and released to the media on Sunday — announced that Zeeshan Ali would be the coach of the team for the tie against Korea.

It has also been decided that only Davis Cuppers would be captain or coach of future teams, and that the Sports Authority of India would be asked to suggest a qualified doctor and a physiotherapist to assist the team; also announced was the decision to honour Dr. Vece Paes for his “'selfless service to the Davis Cup team for 22 years at virtually no remuneration.”

The release went on to add that the AITA had taken exceptions to being branded as “unprofessional and non-transparent” in the letter from the players that was ‘leaked’ to the media.

It stated that such observations were “ill-informed and uncharitable” as its accounts were audited by the CAG, and that it had also voluntarily accepted to come under the RTI scanner.

While the players were welcome to make suggestions, the AITA has categorically stated that the choice of captain, support staff and the team would be the prerogative of the executive and selection committees, and that the AITA’s decision would be final.

The prize money and ‘prize money in lieu of advertisement’ (PILA) from the ITF for Davis Cup ties would also be split between the players and the federation in a new formula, as it was felt that the agreement reached in 1994 needed to be revised.

For all foreign ties, the players would continue to get 100 per cent of the prize money, and the AITA would retain the PILA.

For home ties in Asia-Oceania group ‘II’, the players and the AITA would take 50 per cent each, from the combined purse of the two components. For Asia-Oceania group ‘I’ ties, the players stand to get 60 per cent, and in the case of a group ‘I’ win, the players would get 70 per cent on par with the remuneration for World Group ties.

The payment would be disbursed as per the old agreement, which takes into account no.1 status, wins etc.

As far as flight expenses of the players is concerned, the AITA has made it clear that business class airfare, subject to a maximum of Rs.3.5 lakhs would be paid to the captain and four players for World Group ties.

For Asia-Oceania group ties, players who have reached the top-100 in singles or the top-50 in doubles alone would be eligible for business class airfare, subject to a maximum of Rs.3.5 lakh.

The other players would get economy class fare, subject to a maximum, of Rs.1.70 lakh.

The players have to submit the documents to claim airfare on actuals basis, but would be given the sum in advance if they request it.

Issue with team sponsorship

The AITA also pointed out that some of the players were not sporting the team sponsor’s logo which made it difficult to raise team sponsorship, and sought cooperation from the players.

In terms of choice of venue for home ties, it was mentioned that the captain would consult with the players in future and inform the AITA accordingly, to make the choice, keeping in mind the weather conditions, playing surface etc.

Financial assistance

As part of its Long Term Development Plan, the AITA would seek financial assistance from the government, for players based on World ranking.

The top-200 ranked players may stand to get a support of Rs.15 lakh annually while those in the 201 to 300 bracket will get Rs.12 lakh.

The assistance will be to the tune of Rs. eight lakh, Rs. five lakh and Rs. two lakh for being in the top 500, 800 and 1000 respectively. Doubles players with a top-50 ranking will get Rs. seven lakh, and the others in the top-100, Rs. four lakh.

For juniors, the financial assistance will be Rs. three lakh for top-100 players, Rs. two lakh and Rs. one lakh for those in the 101-300, and 301-500 brackets respectively.

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