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    Default Vijay's absence at draw ceremony stirs hornest's nest1

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    For the first time in 14 years, living legend and former Indian ace and Davis Cup captain, Vijay Amritraj was conspicuous by his absence at the draw ceremony of the ATP Chennai Open Tennis Tournament here today.

    Vijay, who played a key role as an administrator on ATP after retirement, to bring the event to his home town, was told not to show up at the stadium during the draw was made.

    It was being speculated that Vijay had kept away, upset at the fact that his son Prakash was not given a wild card for the main draw this year.

    Vijay, who was considered to be a mascot for the event had also been he Chairman of the Organising Committee always. But this time AITA Vice President Karti Chidambaram, who played a key role in finding a new sponsor to continue the event in Chennai, was made the Chairman. Hence, Vijay was asked to keep away.

    Organising Committee sources confirmed that ''Vijay was told last evening itself not to show up at the stadium during the draw ceremony because it is the prorogative of the Committee''.

    Amritraj's absence was a point of discussion in media circles eventhough event managers IMG's Managing Director South Asia, Ravi Krishnan dismissed speculation that Amritaj was unhappy over his son, Prakash, a regular wild card entrant in the event since 2002 to 2009, not receiving it this time, and hence chose to skip the function.

    ''In the past, Vijay was the chairman of the Organizing Committee and attended the draw ceremony in that capacity. This year, it is Karti Chidambaram, who is also vice-president, All-India Tennis Association. You can speculate as you wish, but roles have changed'', said Krishnan.

    On Rohan Boppana getting the wild card ahead of 17 year-old prospect Yuki Bhambri, winner of Australian Junior Open and who is now made to qualify for the main draw here Krishnan said, ''there was a lot of discussion about this. Perhaps, the organizers thought that it was fit to honour Bopanna for his Davis Cup performances.''


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