Anand Amritraj: 'Nobody can point a finger at me'

Anand Amritraj: 'I know I have the backing of the players. That's not an issue. They would much rather have me than anybody else. Why the AITA is listening to all this rubbish is beyond me?'

Anand Amritraj sought to rubbish all the allegations regarding the "disciplinary issues" made by All India Tennis Federation to show him the exit door.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Amidst reports that the All India Tennis Federation was looking to show India’s Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj the door owing to “disciplinary issues” under his watch, the 63-year-old sought to rubbish all the allegations. Excerpts from an interview with Sportstar:

What are you first reactions?

I am extremely surprised. We have had three very good years considering the team we have had. All have played above their levels. We have been in the World Group playoffs thrice. We came very close against Serbia and the Czech Republic. Our Davis Cup ranking is now 19. It’s the highest since the days me and Vijay [Amritraj] played.

I don’t think anybody can point a finger at me. Nothing is tennis related. There is absolutely no basis and things are being misrepresented. I will be giving a detailed response to every single thing in the coming days. One of the allegations was that wives and girlfriends were seen in the locker room…

Some of these incidents are totally false. With regards to girlfriends, I have a strict rule that they can’t come there before Friday morning on the weekend of the tie.

Somdev [Devvarman], who has been India's No. 1, always asks me before bringing his girlfriend to the match. During the recent tie in Delhi, a player brought his girlfriend on Monday. We sent her back the same evening. That's the kind of discipline we have in the team.

It is also being suggested that your comments on the surface and timings for the World Group playoff against Spain didn’t go down well with the AITA ?

See none of us were consulted before the surface and timings were decided. It came as a surprise. First I was not too happy. I spoke to both Anil Khanna [then President] and Hiranmoy Chatterjee [Secretary General] and told them that I hadn’t wanted to stir up any controversy but that it was just my opinion.

They both told me separately not to worry. Two days later I changed my mind because with Saketh [Myneni] having to play on all three days, we were better off playing in the evening.

Read: >India's players lend support for Anand Amritraj

Were these issues ever communicated to you?

Nobody has talked to me about any of this. Nobody has had a word. This is what makes everything all the more surprising.

Do you think players have been supportive of you?

All the four singles players wrote to the AITA in October saying they wanted me to stay. I am pretty sure the doubles specialists would also want the same.

These things aside, are you satisfied with your three years at the helm?

Yes. There has been complete peace and harmony especially on the back of what had happened before that. Zeeshan [Ali] and I have worked well and taken all decisions together. There has been very good camaraderie and chemistry. It all seemed perfect till this came about.

You have always maintained that you would stay as long as the players and the AITA wanted you to. Are you now having second thoughts?

I know I have the backing of the players. That's not an issue. They would much rather have me than anybody else. Why the AITA is listening to all this rubbish is beyond me.

I was already looking forward to the next year. The thought that I might not even be there never occurred to me. Considering how well the last three years have been and in keeping with the vision of the players, I don't see any reason for a change.

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