The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Tuesday dropped youngster Sumit Nagal from India's Davis Cup tie for what the apex body cited as 'serious breach of discipline'. In a press release, AITA confirmed Nagal's exclusion from the squad for unacceptable behaviour on his part, which included skipping a team training session due to being hungover.
"We got to know that he finished the mini-bar in his hotel room. He is a very talented guy but when you are only 19-years-old and you are getting a chance to be in the Indian team and you miss practise sessions, it's not acceptable," an AITA source told PTI on Tuesday.
Reacting angrily to this public dress down of the young tennis star, former Indian player Somdev Devvarman lashed out at AITA for their careless approach towards the athletes and questioned their intent behind going public over their dissatisfaction with Nagal.
In an open letter to AITA published in the Indian Express, Devvarman accused the apex tennis body of unnecessarily bringing bad publicity to a young player, who according to him is a "good and hardworking kid with potential to be a fantastic player for the country."
The 31-year-old felt AITA was just trying to cover up for an error in selection when only five players were selected in the squad instead of six in India's Davis Cup squad.
"As you were openly bringing bad publicity to our young player Sumit Nagal, one has to wonder, what were you really trying to accomplish there?
"Were you trying to teach Sumit a lesson? Are you trying to make an example out of him? Are you trying to cover up the bad decision your selection committee made with picking only 5 players for the next Davis cup tie and leaving out our highest ranked player Rohan Bopanna? What is it you’re exactly tying to accomplish is my question to you," Devvarman wrote in his letter.
The former Indian Davis Cup player also revealed that Nagal is nursing a shoulder injury which would anyways make him unavailable for selection, further backing his claim that the tennis body was making up issues to cover up their own failings.
"For your information, he is not available to play the upcoming Davis cup tie in Feb(ruary) because he has literally just started hitting tennis balls again to test how he feels and again for to be clear, there’s still a chance he undergoes surgery if he continues feeling so much pain.
"So please don’t give us any crap excuses of why he has been dropped and why you have a 5 member team instead of the 6 you are supposed to have. It is simply false information and extremely unethical of you to make such statements. But once again, useless is as useless does," the 31-year-old fumed.
Devvarman also went on to slam AITA official Hiranmoy Chatterjee in the letter for questioning Nagal's breathing problem and suggested that Chatterjee knew little about the pressure of representing one's country and the nervousness that comes with it.
In conclusion, he urged the apex tennis body to take his letter as a wake up call.
"I truly hope this is a wake up call to you or anyone else who is capable of making decisions at the highest level for sport in India. Please take notice of what is happening and how it hurts our nation. We cannot grow as a sporting nation as long as we have such people running sport in our country," he signed off.
Updated Date: Jan 18, 2017 19:52 PM