- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Australia’s most capped Davis Cup player has accused the International Tennis Federation of being irresponsible for insisting the May 8-10 Davis Cup match against India go ahead as planned in Chennai.

Todd Woodbridge, who helped Australia win the Davis Cup and played in a national-record 32 matches, said the ITF shouldn’t expect the match to go ahead in Chennai when other international sports events were being canceled or moved abroad due to regional tensions.

“The main thing right now in India is that there are elections underway _ there’s been deaths because of these elections in other parts of India, not in Chennai where this tie will be played,” Woodbridge told Fairfax Radio on Wednesday. “But how can we expect our team to go and play in India when everybody else in that region is pulling out?

“I think it’s irresponsible for the ITF to expect us as players to go there and put ourselves on the line in a very, very difficult predicament with the way their social system’s running.”

Terror attacks in Mumbai last November, blamed on Islamic extremists, killed 166 and injured 304 in the Indian financial center and forced an international Twenty20 cricket tournament to be scrapped.

In the wake of a terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan, last month, the Indian Premier League competition was switched to South Africa because security forces would have been too stretched monitoring the lucrative cricket tournament and the general elections.

Australia asked the ITF to move the match, but tennis’ world governing body undertook a security review and over the weekend ruled that the match should go ahead as scheduled in Chennai.

Australia has again appealed that decision.

Woodbridge, who retired in 2005 after winning an ATP record 83 men’s doubles titles, including 16 at Grand Slams and the 1996 Olympic gold medal, said Australia risked a ban if it opted out of the Asia-Oceania zonal match against India, and that could end former top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt’s chances of representing his country again.

The winner of the India vs. Australia match will progress to the playoffs for the elite World Group.

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