AITA catches the seniors on the wrong foot

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has stumped the senior players, who dragged it to the Delhi High Court, by ordering selection trials for the ITF Seniors World Team Championship to be staged in Helsinki, Finland, from June 19 to 24.

When the Delhi High Court, acting on the civil writ petition No.2800, directed the AITA to field the teams in the men’s 50-55 years age categories, it allowed the AITA considerable freedom to exercise its powers.   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has stumped the senior players, who dragged it to the Delhi High Court, by ordering selection trials for the ITF Seniors World Team Championship to be staged in Helsinki, Finland, from June 19 to 24. As a policy decision, declared in the court, the AITA was not entering any team in the seniors World Championship even though the players were free to enter in the individual events on their own with their world rankings.

However, when the Delhi High Court, acting on the civil writ petition No.2800, directed the AITA to field the teams in the men’s 50-55 years age categories, it allowed the AITA considerable freedom to exercise its powers, even as it stated that the expenses for sending the teams would be borne by the petitioners. Thus the order issued by Justice J. Manmohan, on March 30, stated that the AITA was “at liberty to select the best players to participate in the tennis championship and the selection shall not be confined to only those who are willing to bear the expense”.

To enter the teams, even after the entry deadline of March 29, the AITA took an amount of Rs.10,00,000 from one of the petitioner, Rakesh Kohli, on behalf of the players. It was categorically stated that the amount would be used to field the teams even if players other than the petitioners were selected to represent the country.

The order had mentioned that “the petitioners are ready to bear the expenses for participation of the Indian team and the petitioners are not insisting that they alone be considered for selection”.

Thereafter, the AITA has announced that players with a valid passport and senior IPIN registration with the ITF would be eligible to attend the trials to be held at the Ranade Tennis Complex, MSLTA, Cooperage, on April 30 and May 1.

Some of the seniors have cried foul by saying that the selection trials were against all principles, as the national teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and even the junior teams, were based on the ATP, WTA, ITF or national rankings.

The seniors who play tournaments around the world, to be among the top in their age group in the country, felt that it was unfair to be clubbed with others and be asked to go through rigorous trials. The court is set to further hear the case on May 5.

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