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Disgruntled Indian players form association

By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Top Indian players formed an association on Monday to protect their professional interests days after signing a temporary truce with the All India Tennis Association (AITA).

The Indian Tennis Players Association (ITPA) said in a statement that it would function around the ATP model and act as a platform to represent the concerns of its members.

"We believe that the ITPA will provide the players a voice that will stand united in our concerns and suggestions for the improvement of the sport in the country," Somdev Devvarman, India's frontline singles player, said in the statement.

The AITA said they would wait for the association to approach the governing body for recognition and hoped it would not disrupt the ongoing discussions for a long-term understanding.

"We have heard about it. If they at all approach the federation for recognition, we will discuss it in the executive committee and convey to them our decision," AITA chief executive Hironmoy Chatterjee told Reuters by phone.

"For their own convenience they have formed an association and I can't see why the federation should have any problem with it."

Eleven frontline players, excluding 13-times grand slam doubles champion Leander Paes, pulled out of the regional first-round Davis Cup tie against South Korea in New Delhi earlier this month, which India lost 4-1.

Last week, the AITA agreed to most of their demands paving the way for the disgruntled players, including multiple doubles grand slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi, Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna, to commit to play in the April 5-7 tie against Indonesia.

(Editing by Alison Wildey)

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