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Don't believe that rebellion is important: Leander Paes

Posted on Jan 30, 09:49PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Jan 30 : India's multiple Grand Slam champion Leander Paes on Wednesday broke his silence on the players' revolt against the All India Tennis Association (AITA) saying there was no wrong in players discussing their grievances but the rebellion was not the way.

"I personally don't believe that rebellion is important. But communication should always be open," said Paes after a training session here at the R.K.Khanna Tennis Stadium.

Paes said the game is always bigger than the players and association.

"Game is bigger than all of us, it will always will be. End of the day, sport is most important. Whether it's the Association, or players or you guys (media), essence should not be lost," he said.

"In any walk of life, battles are there to be fought but the core of, the essence of, for what we are here for, should not be lost. And that is what's being lost. Tennis should not suffer, the country should not suffer," he said.

Asked why he skipped the New Zealand tie in September last year, Paes said: "At that time, I had a prior agreement, which I had signed. In 24 years, I have missed only three ties. It's long time playing. When you have a contract, you have a commitment. The other two ties, I was injured," he said.

Paes said he had tried to talk to Somdev Devvarman, the leader of the rebellion. The players are demanding better playing conditions.

"I can't make public what we discussed... I chatted with him what is good for his own career. I spoke to a couple of other young players also. We are for the flag and the game of tennis. An opportunity to do well for the nation should not take a backseat."

Paes also said he had never questioned the selection committee's decision.

"In the last 12 months, the partners I had, have switched around. I had no choice. As far as myself is concerned, I have never delved into selection, I have never done that even when I was captain. For me, I play for the flag, I am very respectful of the guys sitting alongside.

"Results come and go, We are here to nurture a team that can win," he said.

On the Davis Cup tie against South Korea tie, Paes said: "It's been many years that are coming into a Davis Cup tie at home as underdogs. That's the beauty of it. It takes off all the pressure. In my 24 years in Davis Cup, there are not many ties we came as underdogs, it was America here (Delhi)and when we played Holland in Jaipur, and Croatia in Delhi. Barring these few ties, there have not been many ties," he said.

"If you look at India's heritage in Davis Cup, it's phenomenal what we have done."