ISLAMABAD, Nov 19 (APP):It appears that International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) decision to shift Pakistan-India Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue has overlooked Pakistan players’ passionate desire to perform in front of their home crowd as after Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi another tennis ace Aqeel Khan also announced to pull out of the event.
Senior Vice President of PTF Khawar Hayat talking to APP said that the ITF had nominated Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan as the neutral venue to host the tie between the two countries.
“We’ve received a late night message from ITF on Monday that its Independent Tribunal has endorsed the decision taken by the Davis Cup Committee to shift the tie to a neutral venue,” Khawar said.
“I’m deeply hurt that the event is not taking place in Pakistan. I’ve communicated to PTF that I’ll also not feature in the tie as a protest,” Aqeel Khan told APP.
“I don’t know what will be other players’ decision, but it is our decision not to play at the neutral venue because it is a matter of respect and dignity of our country,” Aqeel added.
Earlier, Aisam on Monday had announced to pull out of the event as a protest, saying that he would not participate in it if takes place outside Pakistan.
Besides Aisam and Aqeel other members of Pakistan team included Mohammad Abid Mushtaq, Muzammil Murtaza and Muddassar Murtaza.
The latest development has put PTF in a limbo as now it will be forced to field a second-string outfit in the event. A source in PTF said that the federation would discuss the possible replacements for Aisam and Aqeel on Wednesday.
Pakistan was earlier scheduled to host India in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group-I Tie on September 14-15 at the grass courts of Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad, where matches against Uzbekistan, Korea and Thailand took place in 2017 and 2018.
But on All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) request the ITF rescheduled it for November 29-30.
On November, 4 the Davis Cup Committee announced to shift the tie to a neutral venue, citing safety and security of players and officials as the reason. The PTF had filed an appeal with the ITF, asking it to review the decision. It argued that if Indian pilgrims could visit Pakistan then why their players could not come for the tie.