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India’s Davis Cup players refuse to sign code of conduct

New Delhi: India’s Davis Cup players will pull out of the team’s match against South Korea if they are required to sign a code of conduct agreement with the country’s tennis association.

A group of eight players said on January 4 in a statement that they would skip the February 1-3 series in New Delhi if the All India Tennis Association asks them to sign.

“Unfortunately, in light of the AITA secretary general Bharat Oza’s statement that the AITA will introduce a disciplinary code for players ... we wish to make it very clear that all of us are, regrettably, unavailable for Davis Cup selection unless the AITA is willing to consider and engage with us on our very legitimate suggestions in relation to the team,” the players said.

The eight players, who include veteran doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi and singles player Somdev Devvarman, said they were united in their stand against certain practices even though they were “not looking to challenge the authority of the All India Tennis Association.”

Their demands, include more input into choosing venues, more professional team management, an increase in their share of the prize money and an enlarged team of six players to ensure adequate practice partners and exposure to more players.

The AITA faces a second stand-off with players in less than a year. Last year, the AITA was criticized for not reaching out to players and had to work out a compromise ahead of the London Olympics after Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refused to play doubles with Leander Paes.

The AITA had banned Bhupathi and Bopanna for two years from the Davis Cup for their refusal to play with Paes but the suspension was put on hold by an Indian court and they are now available for selection.