New Delhi: Hours after the government made it clear that it would not extend financial help to athletes skipping important international events, the AITA today sought to clarify the stand taken by three top tennis players, who had preferred ATP Tour over the Incheon Asian Games.
Leading doubles exponent Leander Paes, top singles player Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna had skipped the Asian Games to play on tour so that they could protect their rankings.
AITA issued a statement, saying that the players' stand was "misunderstood" by the government.
"The three players represented India in the Davis Cup one week before the Asian Games and India lost a very close tie to the World Champions Serbia ? this shows their commitment to the nation," All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary General Bharat Oza said in the statement.
"It has to be understood that it is essential for the players to have good ranking as otherwise they would not be able to represent the nation in Grand Slams, Davis Cup at appropriate ranking and Olympic Games," the statement added.
AITA argued that the players actually sacrificed a lot of money, which they could have earned from the government by winning medals.
"AITA is confident that the three players in question would have definitely won medals for the country and would have earned large cash rewards from the Central Government & State Government. In fact by skipping the Asian Games and playing Challengers/ATP events, the players in question have lost money in order to protect their rankings," Oza said.
"In any case, the other Indian players performed exceedingly well and India achieved a medals tally of five medals out of the maximum seven possible," Oza said while trying to explain that India did not lose on medal despite the absence of these players.