The Pakistan Tennis Federation Sunday ruled out moving the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group-1 tie against India to be played in Islamabad on September 14-15 to a neutral venue, PTI reported.
PTF chief Saleem Saifullah said that the federation was making the necessary preparations to host the tie at the Islamabad Sports Complex.
“We are sticking to our original programme of hosting the tie on 14-15 September and I don’t see any problem or reason for the Indian team to feel unsafe to come to Islamabad,” Saifullah said.
The escalating tension between the two countries in the aftermath of Indian government’s scrapping of Article 370 – which had accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir – has made the tie uncertain.
The Indian Tennis Federation has said it will ask the International Tennis Federation to move the Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue. But Saifullah assured the Indian contingent of safety.
“They will stay for four days in Islamabad which is a safe city,” he said. “We have made top-level security arrangements for them at their hotel and at the venue. So what is the problem for them to play in Islamabad? If they want, we will not even have spectators for the tie.”
Saifullah said the ITF has not yet contacted the PTF on moving the tie to a neutral venue. He said the tie was very important for Pakistan in terms of promoting tennis in the country and earning revenues. He said the PTF was in already in touch with concerned ministries to ensure the Davis Cup tie was held on schedule in Islamabad.
“As it is after a long time we have started hosting our Davis Cup ties at home,” the PTF chief noted.
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 escalating tension between the two nations.
“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 had said.
Chatterjee added, “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.”