x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Davis Cup players' dispute in India put sport into disrepute

Some sports organisations in India have image problems - but this time it's the athletes that might be in the wrong.

Mahesh Bhupathi, left, and teammate Rohan Bopanna, among others, got most of what they wanted from the All India Tennis Association. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images
Mahesh Bhupathi, left, and teammate Rohan Bopanna, among others, got most of what they wanted from the All India Tennis Association. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Some sports organisations in India have image problems. The Board of Control for Cricket in India comes to mind. So does the country's National Olympic Committee.

This time, the athletes might be the guys in the wrong.

Last week, eight candidates for inclusion in India's Davis Cup team early next month threatened to skip the event unless changes they deemed necessary were instituted. This just a few months after a couple of top Indian players declined to play with a certain doubles partner at the Olympics.

The whining is as old as sport itself: players wanted a bigger piece of Davis Cup tournament revenues, the coaching staff replaced and several other concessions made.

The tail-wags-dog tale received a good bit of publicity, making everybody involved look either selfish or ineffectual. Perhaps a little of both.

Worse, on Sunday, the All India Tennis Association caved in, granting nearly every wish.

According to reports, Somdev Devvarman was among those supporting the boycott, which included the doubles players Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.

The coach will be replaced as a result of the leverage ploy, players will receive 70 per cent of the revenues from Davis Cup home events, up from 50, and have a greater say in the selection of venues.

Right or wrong, it is fair to wonder if the revolt was worth it, because it resulted in another unflattering sports story for India.

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