AITA confirms it will seek neutral venue for Davis Cup tie against Pakistan

The Indian tennis federation confirmed that it will approach world governing body ITF, seeking a neutral venue for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan.

File photo of Rohan Bopanna in action during India's Davis Cup match.   -  AP Photo

The Indian tennis federation on Saturday confirmed that it will approach world governing body ITF, seeking a neutral venue for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan, saying it’s not an “unreasonable request” considering the tension between the two nations.

After the Indian government scrapped the special status accorded to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the developments have kept the AITA officials and players worried.

“We have assessed the situation and feel that the atmosphere is not conducive to play in Pakistan. We have decided to write to the ITF on Monday to provide a neutral venue for the tie,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee told PTI.

“It’s now up to the ITF. They will put it before the Davis Cup committee but it’s likely that they will accept our request. We are not making an unreasonable request. It’s a genuine request. In current circumstances, it is not conducive to play there,” he added.

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In retaliation to Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 and 35A on Wednesday, Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties with India.

Pakistan then on Thursday stopped the Samjhauta Express at the Wagah border citing security concerns, following which an Indian crew escorted the train to Attari on the Indian side.

The tie, for which AITA named a full-strength team, is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on September 14-15.

No Indian Davis Cup team has travelled to Pakistan since 1964 and bilateral cricket ties between the two countries have been dormant since the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.

Since 2017, Pakistan has played four of the five home ties in Islamabad, hosting Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Iran. Hong Kong had refused to travel to Pakistan in April, 2017, giving them a walkover.

The last time Pakistan played on neutral venue was when it hosted China in Colombo, Sri Lanka in March 2016.

In 2015, Pakistan played both its home ties on neutral venue. It played Chinese Taipei in Turkey while hosted Kuwait in Colombo.

Pakistan Tennis Federation President Salim Saifullah Khan had said that they will honour the decision of the ITF in case AITA seeks neutral venue.