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India declared winner as Aussies forfeit

THE International Tennis Federation (ITF) has declared India the winner of next month's Davis Cup tie in Chennai after Tennis Australia (TA) said it would not send a team due to security fears.

The ITF said it regretted TA's decision, adding that a decision over any sanctions would be made in due course.

Under Davis Cup rules, Australia could be banned from the competition for 12 months and face a substantial 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 on the Davis Cup Website.

"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 Playoffs, scheduled for 18-20 September."

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

On Friday the ITF rejected a TA appeal to move the May 8-10 Asia/Oceania Group I tie from Chennai because of security concerns.

Australia said earlier it would not send a team, thus forfeiting the tie.

"The ITF decision has left us with no other option," TA President Geoff Pollard said in a statement. "We cannot send the team. It is extremely disappointing. It would be irresponsible of us to send our players into an area of such high risk. Davis Cup is very important to us but some things are more important than tennis."

Security in the subcontinent has been called into question following the ambush of the Sri Lanka cricket team's bus in Lahore, Pakistan, last month. India also remains nervous after Islamist militants killed more than 150 people in a three-day attack in Mumbai in November, but Sports Minister Manohar Singh Gill was disappointed by the decision.

"Australia should have come and played," he said in a statement. "It is also, in my view, not correct to take quick and unjustified objections to playing in certain parts of the world, and by implication implying, that we, in future, play all sports, in certain other countries only. This is not likely to happen."


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