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Pak stars may not play Davis Cup tie at neutral venue

November 05, 2019 21:49 IST

Pakistan tennis mulls appeal against shifting Davis Cup tie; PTF president says ‘India has only politicised a sports event’.

The Pakistan Tennis Federation will hold a crucial meeting on Wednesday to decide whether to appeal the International Tennis Federation’s decision to shift the Davis Cup tie against India from Islamabad to a neutral venue.

The tie, set for November 29 and 30, was scheduled to be held in the Pakistani capital but the ITF on Monday decided that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I game will be played at a neutral venue.

Pakistan's Aqueel Khan at a practice session. Photograph: Twitter

It was initially scheduled to be held in September but was delayed when India expressed concerns about the safety of their players due to the prevailing diplomatic tensions between the two nations after the revocation of Article 370.

"We will decide at the meeting our next line of action. We have the option of appealing the ITF decision. Our top players like Aisam-ul-Haq and Aqeel Khan had made it clear earlier they would not be available for selection if the tie is not played in Islamabad," PTF President Saleem Saifullah said.

"It is a difficult situation for us. We have the option of selecting the neutral venue but it is difficult to find grass court venues now and if we have to play on hard courts it will be a big disadvantage to us," he said.

Saifullah said he was disappointed with the Indian approach to the Davis Cup tie.

"India has only politicised a sports event. From what I have heard, the All India Tennis Association was prepared to send its team to Islamabad but did not get clearance from their government. So, I classify it as politics," Saifullah said.

He said the PTF had made elaborate security arrangements for the Davis Cup tie which was already postponed from mid-September to late November.

"We were well prepared to host the event and we are still ready to do it. If they don't want spectators, we can do that. But now first we have to decide what to do. Whether to appeal or not," he added.

Pakistan's top player Qureshi has already said that he's fed up with having to play home Davis Cup ties at neutral venues and would consider pulling out if the ITF shifted the venue out of the country.

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