The All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee is confident that national team will travel to Pakistan for their Davis Cup away tie as forfeiture can lead to a two-year suspension from the global governing body ITF.
Having relegated to zone group after their loss to Italy in the Qualifiers, India were drawn against their neighbours for an away Asia-Oceania Zone Group 1 fixture.
The Indian cricket team has not been allowed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to travel to Pakistan for any bilateral contest since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. But it would not be a problem in case of tennis, Chatterjee said.
“We are affiliated to the International Olympic Council (IOC). Tennis is an Olympic sport. According to the Olympics solidarity programme, any body, which is under IOC is supposed to participate in all the events. This is World Cup of tennis,” Chatterjee told PTI.
“Cricket is ruled by an autonomous body (BCCI) and it is not an Olympic sport. It has got nothing to do with it. If we don’t go, we will be banned for two years by Internbational Tennis Federation (ITF),” Chatterjee added.
He further pointed out that Pakistan recently competed in the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar and at the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati and Shillong. “If they can come here, why can’t we go? Our Ministry of External Affairs only allowed them to come here and participate in Hockey World Cup and South Asian Games. Similarly, when we apply, they will allow our team. There’s a lot of time left. We have our fixtures scheduled in September. We will make the Visa and ticket arrangements once they decided on the venue by June 25.”
Pakistan have not hosted their neighbours in a Davis Cup match since March 1964. India had won that tie that took place in Lahore 4-0.
India had hosted Pakistan in Mumbai in 2006. Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, Prakash Amritaj and Rohan Bopanna were part of that team, helping India win 3-2.