Friday, June 29, 2012

AITA should be renamed AIPA for the benefit of Indian Lawn Tennis

The All India Tennis Association (AITA)  is the supreme body in India that decides on all matters related to the sports of lawn tennis. This includes promotion of the game around India, organising national tournaments as well as international tournaments like Davis Cup and nurturing top ranking players who bring laurels to India. Earlier in the distant past players like Ramanathan Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj, Premjit Lal, Jaideep Mukherjea , Ramesh Krishnan have brought laurels for India sometimes individually and sometimes on behalf of AITA when they played the Davis Cup. In the last 2 decades , tennis champions that have brought fame to India include Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna and now Vishnu Vardhan & Rushmi Chakravarthi who have defied all odds to grind through the competitive as well as expensive ATP circuit around the world.
However critics of AITA point out three glaring deficiencies in the organisation. Firstly, for the last 4 decades a national organisation has been run almost like a family business by the Khanna family of Delhi .First the father and now the son, R.K. Khanna . Secondly the critics say the champions that have come up, have triumphed  more due to their personal efforts and sacrifices than any help , whether professional or financial , from AITA. And thirdly, in a country of 1.2 billion, one expected AITA to throw around more than 50 top-rankers in the last 2 decades than just the 5 or 6 handful that we talk about. Such a criticism has now found favours from even among the top-ranked players who have openly revolted against the AITA , in its run up to the selection of the Indian national team for the London Olympics this year. Some of the comments that these players made led me to think that AITA should at least bring in some change . To start with they should change their name to something else. Lets take a look at some of the suggestions for the new names by picking up cues from the quotes of  the top-rankers in the last fortnight.

Leander thinks that being a top-ranked player , he is free to choose any player who will partner him without raising any fuss. He probably wants the organisation to be named as All India Paes Association instead of All India Tennis Association.

Mahesh Bhupati , a one-time protégé of Leander thinks that he never gets his way in AITA and is forced to accept a partner that is not of his choice. Possibly if it was renamed as All India Petty Association, he'd be happier.

Sania Mirza thinks that AITA is chauvinist and wouldn't probably mind if its named All India Penis Association.

Bopanna who is generally seen running as a headless chicken between Leander and Mahesh trying to tie up a long term partner would really like it named as All India Partnerless Association.

Vishnu and Rushmi , the energetic new kids in the town, are completely clueless whether they will ever get an opportunity to play in the big events like Olympics thanks to AITA's dependence on over-the-hill celebrity players & the influences of their parents and wouldn't mind calling it All India Parents Association.

In conclusion , AITA should change its name to AIPA. This would at least bring all the warring players to agree on one issue and help them to move on together with their games.

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