The International Tennis Federation (ITF), on Monday, announced that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I game between Pakistan and India has been moved out of Pakistan and will be played at a neutral venue.
The decision comes after the All India Tennis Federation (AITA) had made multiple requests to the ITF to shift the venue from Pakistan citing security concerns. The tie is scheduled to take place on November 29-30.
The statement read: "Following a review of the latest advice given by the ITF's independent security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has taken the decision that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie between Pakistan and India on 29-30 November 2019, must be played at a neutral venue.
"The ITF and Davis Cup Committee's first priority has always been the safety of athletes, officials and spectators and the decision was made on this basis.
As per the Davis Cup Regulations, the Pakistan Tennis Federation now has the choice to nominate a neutral venue and has five working days to confirm their proposed venue. The venue will be announced once the choice has been submitted and approved."
The tie earlier was scheduled to be held on September 14-15 but was delayed when India expressed concerns about the safety of their players due to the prevailing diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
Earlier on Monday, the AITA named former India player and chairman of its selection panel Rohit Rajpal as team’s non-playing captain, signalling an end to Mahesh Bhupathi’s era. There was speculation that veteran Leander Paes could be considered for the job after the 46-year-old made himself available following pullouts by top players and captain Bhupathi.
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AITA President Parveen Mahajan said the federation will not go back on its decision to make Rajpal captain. “Rohit will stay as captain of the side. He will talk to the top players if they are available. We were ready to send team Pakistan too but it’s an excellent decision. We welcome it,” Mahajan told PTI.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan termed the ITF’s decision “unfortunate“.
“It’s politics in sports. It’s nothing but unfortunate,” Khan told PTI .