Amid political tension between India and Pakistan over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the All-India Tennis Association (AITA) plans to write to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) requesting them to shift the Davis Cup fixture between the two countries to a neutral venue.
India was scheduled to play Pakistan in Islamabad on September 14 and 15, but now, the AITA feels that given the current political situation, the players may not be too comfortable travelling to the neighbouring country.
“The situation is sensitive as of now. We will wait for the next couple of days and see how things go. If the situation remains like this, we will write to the ITF requesting them to review the situation and host the fixture at a neutral venue,” AITA’s secretary-general, Hironmoy Chatterjee, told Sportstar on Thursday.
“We will ask the ITF to look into the issue and take a call. Playing at a neutral venue will help the players feel comfortable and will be an amicable solution. Pakistan has played at a neutral venue in the past as well, so it won’t be a problem for them,” Chatterjee added.
The last time an Indian tennis team played in Pakistan was 55 years ago, and this time around, the AITA was confident of touring Islamabad despite initial hesitation by the players. “But now, the situation is not conducive. It is the responsibility of ITF to look into the matter and take a call accordingly,” Chatterjee said.
In 1964, India had played Pakistan in Lahore and won the fixture 4-0. This time, Pakistan Tennis Federation chief Salim Saifullah had even promised highest possible security for the visiting Indian team. However, with the tensions simmering over the Kashmir issue, a possibility of teams playing at a neutral venue seems likely.
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