Pakistan’s upcoming home Davis Cup tie against Iran has gone under a shadow of doubt as Iran has asked ITF to shift the contest to a neutral venue due to security concerns.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PHF) Secretary Khalid Rehmani said the ITF had informed them that the Iranian Tennis officials had sent them a letter expressing concerns over the security situation in Pakistan.
“This letter has come as a big shock to us. Iran is a friendly nation with us and their athletes have been coming to Pakistan for different sports events in the last two years,” he said.
Rehmani said that Iran’s request would now be discussed at the Executive Board of directors of the ITF.
The PTF was overjoyed last month when the ITF confirmed that Pakistan would be hosting its Davis Cup tie against Iran at home (Islamabad) in February.
It was the first Davis Cup tie in Pakistan after 12 years of isolation due to security concerns by teams who refused to play in Pakistan forcing them to play home ties on neutral venues.
“We did not expect this from Iran as we were confident they would come. The ITF only gave us permission to host the Davis Cup tie at home after their security experts studied the situation in detail and gave clearance,” Rehmani said.
He said that the PTF had given all assurances to the ITF that it would provide the best security for the Davis Cup which is to be held at the secure Pakistan sports complex in Islamabad.
“We will get in touch with the Iranian tennis officials and try to convince them again that they should not have any concerns over the security which will be provided to their players and officials,” Rehmani said.
The last time Pakistan played a home Davis Cup tie was against New Zealand in New Zealand but top player Aisam ul Haq Qureshi had boycotted the tie in protest.