AITA says Australian pull-out irresponsible

New Delhi, April 25 (Inditop) All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary-general Anil Khanna Saturday termed Australia’s decision to pull out of the Davis Cup tie in India “irresponsible and arrogant.”

Tennis Australia (TA) Saturday announced that its team will not go to Chennai for the Davis Cup next month because of security concerns. The decision followed the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Board’s rejection of TA’s appeal to shift the tie out of India.

Khanna said TA’s decision shows lack of understanding of security situation in India.

“ITF in its security report said India is absolutely safe and Chennai is a wonderful city to host the tie. Even after such a positive report from the ITF, it reflects Australia’s certain amount of arrogance as an important tennis nation,” a livid Khanna told reporters here.

“Australia have reacted similarly in the past when they refused to send team for the junior event in Indonesia after blasts in Bali six years ago.”

One of reason cited by the Australians is the security concern as the tie is clashing with the General Election.

But Khanna rubbished the claims and questioned Australia’s commitment to Davis Cup.

“India is a large country of one billion but elections are going on peacefully, except few stray incidents. It is of course a matter of concern but not alarming as far as safety is concerned. It is the complete ignorance of Australia about the security situation here. The ITF has rightly taken decision to send a security team to India to study the situation,” he said.

“Although my friend Geoff Pollard (TA president) said they have a great commitment towards Davis Cup but it is highly irresponsible of Australia to pull-out.”

Khanna said the decision has been a setback to India’s preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“I must say this tie was important for AITA because this was the biggest tennis event India were to host before the Commonwealth Games.

“I have been in constant touch with the sports minister M.S Gill. We are happy the way we have dealt with the situation.”

Khanna said India sent teams to Australia to play in the junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup recently despite reports from Indian High Commission of the attacks on Indian students there.

“India sent its junior team to Australia despite our High Commission saying that 500 Indian students have been attacked there in past six months,” he said.

Khanna said as per rules, ITF should take a decision on penalising Australia within two months.

“As per the Davis Cup rules, Australia may face a financial penalty, or a demotion from the Asia-oceania Group I to Group II, and even a ban. It depends on the Board of Directors of ITF.”

Khanna said the pull-out is also a concern for the Asian countries and has been condemned by other tennis world bodies.

“Other Asian nations are worried whether Australia will participate in tennis events in the region.”

“Australia’s decision has not gone well with the world tennis fraternity and officials of other country’s tennis organisation have expressed their support,” Khanna said