The Pakistan Tennis Federation on Monday announced that it will host India in a Davis Cup Group 1 Tie in Islamabad. According to a report on the News International, PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan confirmed that they are ready to host the tie in the nation’s capital and that it will be played on a grass court.
“The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has acknowledged Pakistan’s surge to the top in Asia and thus has included the team amongst the best in the continent. The leading teams in Asia will have the opportunity to make it to the World Group,” he said.
“The choice of the court is with Pakistan and as such India would be coming to Pakistan for the very first time to figure in the tie. There is no denying the fact that tennis in India is far advance and their players are considered amongst the best around,” he said.
“Some of India’s players are even ranked within the top 200 in the world. We are a developing tennis country and largely depend on the ability of our two leading players Aisamul Haq and Aqeel Khan to help us get through. I am hopeful and confident that the two would continue to excel for Pakistan.”
It was earlier reported that India’s Davis Cup team is likely to get a green light from the government to make the trip to Pakistan for the tie. Bilateral sporting relations between India and Pakistan have come to a standstill since the 2008 Mumbai attacks. However, there have been a few occasions when athletes from the two countries have squared off in various international tournaments. Most recently, Pakistan’s hockey team travelled to India for the World Cup in Bhubaneswar last December.
A sports ministry official said they will seek advice from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the political and security situation in Pakistan but the final decision will rest with them. “There shouldn’t be any problem as things stand now. Davis Cup is the World Cup of tennis. Not competing in it will lead to sanctions and we do not want that scenario to arise. Hence, if AITA submits a proposal to send a team to Pakistan, the government should clear it,” the official said.