Davis Cup: PTF undecided whether to appeal ITF decision to shift venue

Tanya Simon
November 8, 2019

Bowing down to the Indian pressure, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) deprived Pakistani spectators of witnessing the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-I tie against India by shifting it from Islamabad to a neutral venue.

Initially slated for September, India's tie against Pakistan was postponed to November due to security concerns. However, AITA made a decision to seek ITF's intervention to shift the venue to a neutral venue, citing security concerns and possible threats to the lives of the players.

The self-discipline started with Rohan Bopanna tweeting on Tuesday that he was once taken aback by the national federation's resolution to commerce the captain sooner than ITF's resolution on the venue for the Pakistan tie and likewise pointed that the gamers weren't kept within the loop.

Sources close to the team said on Tuesday that the final squad will be selected once the neutral venue is finalised. "It surprises me that AITA has changed the Davis Cup Captain before ITF announced the fi nal decision yesterday (04.11.19) and where the tie would be held (sic.)", said Bopanna.

Responding to Bopanna's comments, AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee said players' job is to play and not interfere in administrative matters.

The AITA is under no obligation to ask availability of top players because, in its communication on October 25, the federation had made it clear that only those players will be considered for selection on neutral venue who are ready to be picked for Islamabad tie. "When we bring out patriotism on court with racquet in hand, we also bring a voice", added Bopanna.

Asked if Bopanna will still be considered for the tie against Pakistan, Chatterjee said: "That is for the selection committee to decide". The tie against Pakistan, which was supposed to be played in Islamabad on November 29-30, will now be played on a neutral venue.

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"The camaraderie amongst players and between the players and their captain is where we derive a lot of support from".

It must be mentioned in this regard that Bhupathi's term as the non-playing captain had already got over in December 2018 and he was given an extension to lead the side in the tie against Italy in February this year in Kolkata.

Indian captain and multiple doubles Grand Slam victor Mahesh Bhupathi called it a "sensible decision".

Bhupathi also alleged that the AITA likes to "Divide & Rule" and that is how they have been operating since the past 20 years.

The ITF decision left many current and former Pakistan Davis Cuppers dismayed.

In a statement, the ITF said the decision to move the match was taken "following a review of the latest advice given by the ITF's independent security advisors". We have the option of appealing the ITF decision. On Wednesday, he told that Rohit Rajpal can captain the team against Pakistan. "Once again Pakistan is getting penalised for someone else actions. To me it's an absolute discrimination at every level", tweeted Qureshi.

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