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AITA supports Somdev's pull-out of Asian Games

Last updated on: September 05, 2014 21:00 IST
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Changing its stance towards Somdev Devvarman's pulling out of the Asian Games squad, the All India Tennis Association said it supports the player's decision.

AITA president Anil Khanna said the body understands that it is important for Somdev to be in the top-100 chart and if he again succeeds in getting into that elite bracket, it would be a "service to the nation".

"The captain (Anand Amritraj) has supported Somdev's decision and we endorse that," Khanna told reporters.

"Somdev has served the nation in the Davis Cup. He has won two gold medals at the Asian Games and if he reaches the top-100 and plays at Grand Slams, that would also be a service to the nation. Top 100 players make money in tennis and our players need to earn money. Somdev has our support," he said.

Khanna's comments came two days after the AITA termed Somdev's decision as incorrect and disappointing.

Asked if the AITA was aware of Rohan Bopanna's availability for the Asian Games, Khanna said the captain is communicating with the players.

Bopanna, it is learnt, is weighing the option of skipping the Asian Games for the ATP Tour, where he can earn valuable ranking points during that period.

Somdev, who has dropped out of top-100 chart and consequently missed out on a direct entry into the US Open, has decided to play on the Tour to improve his rankings.

Asked what forces players like Somdev to say that they play for the nation and not for AITA, Khanna said the players indeed turn up only for the country.

"We as a federation only represent the country and we just name the team; the players do not play for us but for the country," he said.

In lighter vein, Khanna said they are hoping that world No 1 Novak Djokovic will reach the US Open final and not play in the play-off tie against India, enhancing the country's chances of qualifying for the elite 16-nation World Group.

"Team is geared up for the tie, let's keep the morale high," he concluded.

Image: Somdev Devvarman

Photograph:  Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

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