Pakistan Insists On Hosting Davis Cup Tie Against India Despite Security Concerns

New Delhi: India and Pakistan are set to meet in the Davis Cup World Group I Play-offs in February-March 2024. The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has firmly stated that it will not agree to move the tie to a neutral venue, unlike what happened in 2019 when security concerns led to the match being relocated to Kazakhstan.

During the 2019 incident, India and Pakistan were also scheduled to play, but due to security issues, the Asia/Oceania Group I tie was shifted to Kazakhstan, a neutral location. This move led Pakistan’s top players, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan, to opt out of the match. Instead, lesser-experienced players represented Pakistan, resulting in a one-sided contest where India won 4-0, with Pakistan only managing to secure seven games throughout the tie.

While the ITF had agreed to shift the tie to a neutral venue in 2019, it could prove to be a challenging task for the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to convince the international governing body to do the same this time.

Pakistan’s veteran player, Aqeel Khan, expressed hope that the Indian team would travel to Pakistan for the upcoming tie, stating, “I hope they come and give us a chance to host.”

Recently, Pakistan defeated Indonesia 4-0 at home in the World Group II tie, played on grass courts in Islamabad, with Aqeel Khan contributing to a singles win and a doubles victory.

PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan emphasized their intention to host India on grass courts and urged them to visit Pakistan, citing the superiority of the Indian team. He added that Pakistan has excellent facilities and a beautiful hotel near the stadium, and their visit would send a positive message about neighbourly relations.

If India does decide to travel to Pakistan, it would mark the Indian Davis Cup team’s first visit across the border in 59 years and only the third in the history of the tournament. The last time an Indian Davis Cup team visited Pakistan was in 1964, resulting in a 4-0 victory for India.

Pakistan has visited India three times for Davis Cup ties, but India has never lost to them in the eight encounters between the two nations. Saifullah Khan underlined Pakistan’s willingness to host the tie on their grass courts, reiterating that they would not consider playing on a neutral venue and emphasizing the pleasant weather in Islamabad during February-March.

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