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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Saturday, 25 April 2009 13:35 UK

Australia pull out of India tie

Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard
Pollard said it would be irresponsible to send his team to Chennai

Tennis Australia has withdrawn its team from the Davis Cup tie against India in Chennai because of security concerns.

The International Tennis Federation rejected an appeal to move the tie, set for 8-10 May, out of India and has since declared India the winner.

"It would be irresponsible of us to send our players into an area of such high risk," said Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard.

Australia could now be banned from the Davis Cup for a year or face a fine.

"The ITF regrets and respectfully disagrees with the decision of Tennis Australia to default its upcoming Davis Cup tie against India," the ITF said in a statement.

"By virtue of its decision not to send a team to compete against India, Australia has forfeited the tie. India is declared the winner and will advance to the Davis Cup World Group play-offs, scheduled for 18-20 September.

"The Davis Cup Committee in due course will decide any sanctions to be assessed against Australia according to the regulations of the 2009 competition."

We have worked so hard to get back in to World Group contention, to have it snatched away like this is gut-wrenching

John Fitzgerald

The ITF's decision angered Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald, who believes the governing body should have followed the lead of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament and moved the event to another country because of increased safety concerns during the Indian election.

"It is just irresponsible. Surely some thought must be given to the players' safety," he said.

"I believe they say the election is not a cause for concern, the IPL moving is not relevant and that an ATP tournament held in January shows it is safe to play in Chennai.

"So what about the fact that dozens of people are being killed along the campaign trail of the election? A train was hijacked this week, but that does not alter their thoughts? Did the IPL move for no reason?

"The ATP event involved no national teams and was held three months prior to the election. This decision makes no sense.

"We have worked so hard to get back in to World Group contention, to have it snatched away like this is gut-wrenching."

The ITF based its decision to reject Australia's appeal on a security report that it had commissioned, while the All India Tennis Association had always been confident the tie could go ahead safely.

"The location and venue was previously approved following a positive report from the ITF's security consultants," said an ITF statement.

Tennis Australia's security concerns followed March's attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Pakistan.

The attack in Lahore in March wounded seven Sri Lankan cricketers, while six policemen and a driver were killed.

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Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers
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