AITA Bans Players From Entering UTR Events
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) could have asked itself in the foot by banning players from participating in tournaments hosted by private academies across the country.
Recently, AITA announced the restart of national tennis from November 16 in the junior category with three days tournaments limitation.
But the focus was on the decision “that independent entities would not be allowed to organize private tournaments outside the official AITA circuit” and “that player will be warned not to participate in a tournament which is not formally sanctioned by AITA and its affiliated units. Such participation may result in disciplinary action.”
Although AITA has not named it specifically, its fury’s target is the UTR circuit, which gained popularity across the world during the pandemic and began to take hold in India.
UTR, based in the United States, whose nephew of Vijay Amritraj, Stephen Amritraj, has tournaments played over a shorter period of two to three days and in the round-robin format.
It was launched primarily to judge the talent of junior players regardless of their ITF or national rankings. Still, its base expanded to include professionals and seniors during the lockdown when international travel was severely restricted.
Pranjala Yadlapalli won a UTR tournament in Australia during the lockdown in July.
“It’s very strange, and we’re all shocked. I don’t know why AITA did this. We are not breaking any rules since we are not obligated by AITA not to host this tournament or any other. It’s not fair that we need help during COVID-19. We are all in the field, and they should appreciate us working hard during this situation.”
AITA’s decision is doomed to failure as players face uncertainty about future tournaments. With India in the red zone, those who travel also face quarantine in Europe and elsewhere, effectively ruling out gambling abroad.
“I have organized tournaments and paid around Rs. 20 Lakh so far over the years. It is advantageous to organize a UTR event because we are not limited in organizing tournaments. We can also do two tournaments per week. The players are also excited because they have more games to play.”