The Appeal made by Pakistani Tennis Federation (PTF) to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for the Davis Cup clash against India to be held in Islamabad has been turned down.
The Tennis regulatory body has, therefore, chosen a neutral venue, Kazakhstan. This was revealed to Reuters by the Indian tennis association (AITA). Recall that Pakistan’s top tennis player, Aisam ul Haq Qureshi, had said he would not participate in the tie unless it is held in Islamabad.
According to ITF, the Asia/Oceania Group I tie previously billed to hold on September 14 to September 15, was postponed to November 29 to November 30 following a security review and political tensions between the bitter neighbours.
Pakistan had expelled India’s ambassador and suspended bilateral trade and all public transport links with its neighbour in August. This happened due to New Delhi’s removal of “special status” from its portion of the contested region of Kashmir.
The ITF had earlier this month accepted India’s request to shift the tie away from Islamabad. The decision which was appealed by Pakistan.
Speaking to Reuters on the telephone, AITA General Secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee said ITF had informed IATA that Pakistan’s Appeal had been rejected and the tie will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.
India and Pakistan had been involved in two wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
Although they had signed a pact last month, which allowed Indian pilgrims to cross the border to a Sikh shrine in Pakistan, this was described as rare cooperation between the nuclear-armed countries.
Meanwhile, India’s top singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran will be absent from the tie because he is getting married during the tie. Doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna is also out of the tie due to a shoulder injury. Indian has therefore drafted Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan into the main squad.
The last time an Indian tennis team travelled to Pakistan was in 1964. They defeated the host in a Davis Cup tie 4-0. Pakistan restored some pride after losing 3-2 on their last visit to India in 2006.
The tension between them has also affected other sports. For instance, bilateral cricketing ties have been suspended since 2008.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed