Calcutta: The All India Tennis Association (AITA) vice-president Karti Chidambaram, during the inauguration of the National Grasscourt Championships, had blasted the top players for skipping the meet.
And on Saturday, during the closing ceremony of the tournament Jaidip Mukerjea stoked the fire, again.
In his speech as the South Club president, Mukerjea raised the thorny issue in the presence of AITA chief executive officer Hironmoy Chatterjee.
“I would request the AITA to make it mandatory for the top players to play the Nationals.”
Chatterjee, when his turn came “to say a few words”, put the record straight. “The AITA always wants to see top players playing the Nationals,” he said.
For the record, even players like VM Ranjeet, Vijayant Malik and Purav Raja who were unknowns till the AITA selected them for the Davis Cup tie against South Korea gave it a miss.
Jaidip, who is also the interim president of the newly-formed Indian Tennis Players’ Association (IPTA), later said next time he would try to convince the big names to participate in Nationals.
“What I meant was that AITA should ensure top-level tournaments do not lose its appeal. The National grasscourt is big meetů But then prize money also is a factor.
“If the prize money is good, top players will definitely come. I will also try my best to convince players.”