Indian tennis players end Davis Cup boycott

MUMBAI Sat Feb 9, 2013 10:22pm IST

Mahesh Bhupathi (R) and Rohan Bopanna pose as they celebrate after winning their men's doubles final match against Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands at the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Cedric Lecocq /Files

Mahesh Bhupathi (R) and Rohan Bopanna pose as they celebrate after winning their men's doubles final match against Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands at the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cedric Lecocq /Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Disgruntled Indian tennis players made themselves available on Saturday for a Davis Cup tie against Indonesia, ending an embarrassing row with the All India Tennis Association (AITA) over demands for better playing conditions.

Eleven frontline players, excluding 13-times grand slam doubles champion Leander Paes, pulled out of the regional first round tie against South Korea in New Delhi last week, which India lost 4-1.

On Thursday, the AITA agreed to most of the players' demands paving the way for the players, including multiple doubles grand slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna, to commit to play in the April 5-7 team event.

"We have confirmed to the AITA our availability to play in the Davis Cup tie against Indonesia, subject to all of the conditions and commitments in the AITA's letter being unconditionally complied with by the AITA," the players said in a statement.

"Given that a number of the concerns that we have raised remain unresolved, our confirmation of availability is limited only to the tie against Indonesia.

"Going forward, we are hopeful that a reasonable and comprehensive long-term understanding will be formally documented after a consultative and collaborative process involving us as players."

The AITA agreed to demands for a new coach, a higher share of prize money, the players' involvement in choice of venues for ties and business class airfares for all members of the squad.

The governing body, however, rejected their request to change the captain and snubbed the players' choice of support staff for the team.

"We are happy that the players have made themselves available," AITA chief executive Hironmoy Chatterjee told Reuters by phone. "We are willing to open discussions with them for a long-term understanding." (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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