The controversy surrounding India’s Davis Cup tie against Pakistan has left Saketh Myneni thoroughly disappointed who fears for the impact the issue is going to have on the upcoming generation of tennis players.
Myneni feels that the Davis Cup ‘drama’ could mean youngsters losing motivation in representing the country.
“When I was growing up, Davis Cup was big,” the 32-year-old veteran singles player told The Indian Express. “Team events for tennis happen only once or twice a year, maybe the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, along with Davis Cup. I don’t think the younger generation has seen the good side of it yet. There’s too much other drama going on. Tennis is not about the results of the top players like Prajnesh (Gunneswaran), Ramkumar (Ramanathan), Sumit (Nagal) anymore. That’s the way the sport is getting in a bad way.”
He added, “When they are not involved, they will maybe think that all the things that are written (in newspapers) is what’s happening. But once they are involved in the process, maybe it will be a different scenario,” he says. “That’s the time they will start thinking that they don’t want to be a part of the drama. Or maybe, they want to be a part of it. Because representing the country is a huge honour.”
Myneni’s negative assessment has a strong base. The India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie was originally scheduled for August this year before the heightened diplomatic tensions between the two countries resulted it in being postponed to late November. However, expressing concerns regarding the safety of its players, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) asked the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to shift the tie to a neutral venue which was accepted.
Amidst this, four members of the original five-member squad that was to travel to Pakistan pulled out, refusing to travel to Pakistan. Among those names was of non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi.
The AITA then named a new captain (Rohit Rajpal) in the scenario of the tie going ahead in Pakistan. A final squad and venue is yet to be confirmed but Bhupathi has already slammed AITA for their decision to have him excluded.
Myneni, who, continues to be part of both the squad says he had no issue playing in Pakistan. “We want to go and win, that’s the priority for me. I didn’t want a forfeiture (in case India couldn’t field a team) and a ban and something else to happen, so I was alright with travelling to Pakistan,” he adds. “It’s about the sport, not about what’s happening behind the scene. Unfortunately, (the drama is) what tennis is become now,” he said.