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AITA gets tough on imperfect past

AITA gets tough on imperfect past
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The Indian tennis successfully broke the shackles of the murky dispute between its top players by completing a 5-0 whitewash over New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie at CLTA Courts in Chandigarh on Sunday.
 
Playing for the first time after an era dominated by the warring stalwarts Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, India rode on the back of young turks Yuki Bhambri and debutant Sanam Singh, who won their respective reverse singles in contrasting styles. India had already avoided relegation on Saturday by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, commenting on the action taken against Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, the All-India Tennis Association (AITA) said on Sunday that by sidelining the duo, it sent a strong message that indiscipline would not be tolerated at any cost. AITA has decided during its executive committee meeting that the two players, who refused to play with Paes at London Olympics, will not be considered till June 2014. The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in South Korea in September 2014 and before that neither of the two players could represent India. The stand effectively ends the career of Bhupathi, who is already on the wrong side of the 30s.

'We don't have a code of conduct where it's mentioned that a player can be punished for so and so period. We are formulating it and will come up with it in two-three months. AITA has some rules and regulations, which say that action can be taken against a player,' AITA secretary general Bharat Oza said.

Asked about Paes preferring to play in a club instead of Davis Cup tie, Oza said the veteran player had requested to excuse him for the tie. 'AITA is not in a position to impose ban on any player. He was hurt and emotionally drained. He did not want to face media scrutiny so soon. We must consider whether a player is fit both mentally and physically. AITA does not apply different yardsticks when it comes to treating Paes, Bhupathi or Bopnna,' Oza added.


YOUNG GUNS OFF TO A FLIER

Sanam Singh was splendid in his victory after Yuki Bhambri huffed and puffed to a patchy win as India completed a 5-0 rout of New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I relegation play-off tie, on Sunday.

With the tie already in pocket, Yuki pushed India closer to a whitewash after he struggled past Jose Statham 2-6, 7-5, 7-6[5], in the fourth rubber, which lasted for two hours and 41 minutes under scorching sun.

Sanam, who had to wait for his turn until the last match, closed the tie in style with a dominating 6-4, 6-1, win against Artem Sitak in one hour and 17 minutes.

Sanam’s win was the first straight one for India in this tie as the other matches, except the second rubber, lasted full distance.

Three wins on the first two days had already ensured that India will stay in Group I for 2013 competition. The Kiwi team will fight it out with Chinese Taipei next month to retain its place in Group I.

It’s the first time since the 2005 tie against Uzbekistan that India have whitewashed an opponent in Davis Cup.

The youngsters have already been rewarded for their good show as AITA has said it will stick to them till India competes in the Asia/Ocenia Group zone.

Since Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will not be considered for selection for close to two years, these youngsters will be India’s face in the Davis Cup. Sanam found himself in the pit several times in the first set, but managed to get out every time. He was lighteningly quick on the court and had the sting in his shots. The two players exchanged serves in sixth and seven games to be locked 3-3. A double fault by Sitak on a break point put Sanam ahead.

Earlier, Yuki overcame a sluggish start to set India up for a rout.  Yuki was far from convincing and it was his second come-from-behind win as he had erased a two-set deficit in the opening singles.

Yuki also battled cramps towards the end but hung on to eke out a win. Many a times he was in advantageous position but could not deliver the knockout punch.

At 40-0, he was up by three break points in the 12th game of the second set, but took two more to finally draw parity. After failing to convert his first match point in the final set, he was up 5-0 in the match tie-break, but allowed Statham to take five points on the trot to make it 5-5.

Yuki was slow off the blocks, struggling with his first serve. Yuki saved two set points before conceding the lead in 37 minutes. The Delhi lad improved slightly in the second set but still he was far from his best. The searing heat started to bother Statham as his movement slowed down.

Statham was struggling to cope with the heat. His movement dropped and he was trying to keep the points short. Yuki, too, was struggling to move as he suffered cramps, which allowed the decider to go full diatnace.


‘YUKI WAS NOT FOCUSSED’


Yuki Bhambri’s unconvincing win over New Zealand’s Jose Statham has left much to be desired as India’s non-playing captain, S P Misra, felt that the country’s best singles player did not look focussed in the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup relegation play-off tie.

A profligate Yuki squandered a number of chances in the Asia/Oceania Group I match, which lasted two hours and 41 minutes at the CLTA grounds on Sunday.

‘Strangely, he was not focussed. He was playing well only in patches,’ Misra said after India whitewashed the Kiwis 5-0. However, he was not too worried with inconsistency of the 20-year old, and hoped that he would come back strongly.

‘He looked solid against Uzbekistan. May be mentally, being the number one player, troubled him. But he will come around, I am sure.’ Misra was pleased with the overall outcome. ‘The boys had prepared well. They were focussed on the job. They performed well in the tie,’ he said.


‘INDISCIPLINE WON’T BE TOLERATED’

Insisting that it had not imposed a ban on Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, the All India Tennis Association [AITA] on Sunday, said that by sidelining the duo, it was sending out a message that indiscipline will not be tolerated at any cost.

The AITA decided at its executive committee meeting that the two players, who refused to play with Leander Paes at the London Olympics, will not be considered till June 2014. The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in South Korea in September 2014 and before that, neither of the two players could represent India.

It effectively ends the career of Bhupathi, who is already on the wrong side of the 30s. ‘AITA is not in a position to impose ban on any player. It’s a kind of disciplinary action to send across a message to players, who aspire to play for India that we will not tolerate this,’ AITA secretary general Bharat Oza said.

Quizzed on the logic behind the punishment period, Oza could not give a satisfactory reply. ‘We do not have a code of conduct where it is mentioned that a player can be punished for so and so period. AITA has some rules and regulation which says that action can be taken against a player.’ Asked about Paes preferring to play in a club instead of Davis Cup tie, Oza said the veteran player had requested to excuse him for the tie.   
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