Local association disappointed with Australia’s Davis Cup pullout

Chennai, April 25 (IANS) Tennis Australia’s (TA) decision to skip the scheduled Davis Cup tie against in India here next month has caused disappointment in the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA).

TA cited “security concerns” as reasons for refusing to send its team for the May 8-10 tie with Chennai hosting the Davis Cup for the first time in three decades.

Reacting to the development, TNTA’s CEO Hiten Joshi told IANS: “We are obviously very disappointed. We were gearing up to host the tie and were in the advanced stage of preparations and looking forward to the event.”

Joshi said he did not agree with Australia’s perception on security threat to its players, considering that Chennai had successfully hosted the annual ATP Chennai Open in January this year.

It was argued in some quarters that the Lahore incidents where the touring Sri Lankan cricket team escaped a direct terrorist attack last month, besides the elections in India, might have contributed to TA’s fears over security for its Davis Cup stars.

“But then, it is their perception and there is nothing much that we can do. We have had meetings with various security agencies and also the Police. All of them, including the Tamil Nadu government, had assured us of full support and cooperation,” Joshi said.

Earlier this month, the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) security expert Stephen Chad had visited Chennai to assess the security measures. Based on his report, the ITF had confirmed Chennai as the venue.

According to Joshi, the TNTA had received a number of enquiries from the public regarding tickets.

“People here were looking forward to the tie and we had made provision to ensure that the spectators could watch the matches in relative comfort,” he pointed out.

The matches were slated for a 10 a.m. start despite the peak summer heat during May. “We had worked out all the logistics and were preparing for the tie as per the ITF regulations. Yes, we are most certainly disappointed that Tennis Australia has declined to play in Chennai despite our reassurances on security for their players,” Joshi said.