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AITA backs top players

Hours after the government made it clear it would not extend financial help to athletes skipping important international events, the AITA on Tuesday sought to clarify the stand taken by three top tennis players, who had preferred ATP Tour over the Incheon Asian Games. Leading doubles exponent Leander Paes, top singles player Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna had skipped the Asian Games to play on tour so that they could protect their rankings. AITA issued a statement, saying that the players’ stand was ‘misunderstood’ by the government.

‘The three players represented India in the Davis Cup one week before the Asian Games and India lost a very close tie to Serbia, this shows their commitment to the nation. It has to be understood that it is essential for the players to have good ranking as otherwise they would not be able to represent the nation in Grand Slams, Davis Cup at appropriate ranking and Olympic Games,’ AITA secretary general Bharat Oza said in the statement.

AITA argued the players actually sacrificed a lot of money, which they could have earned from the government by winning medals. ‘In fact by skipping the Asian Games and playing Challengers/ATP events, the players in question have lost money in order to protect their rankings,’ the statement read.
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