The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has a week to confirm the neutral venue for Davis cup Asia-Oceania group II tie against New Zealand, as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has refused to let Pakistan host the matches in Lahore or Islamabad due to security concerns.
According to PTF secretary Mumtaz Yousuf, the federation has a week to submit the application for the neutral venue. He said the PTF are in talks with Malaysia as grass courts suit Pakistan better.
“We want to hold the ties in Malaysia,” Yousuf told The Express Tribune. “This year we have time to avail the option of playing in a neutral venue and we are prepared for the Davis Cup ties. We know that we can’t hold the matches in Pakistan – that’s something the ITF is just not willing to approve – so we have a choice to play the ties in Malaysia, and this time around I am 90 percent sure about our success.”
Yousuf said that both of Pakistan’s key players Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan have been pressing the federation to manage the Davis Cup hosting rights and insist that Pakistan can win on grass courts against New Zealand.
“We have a week to submit our request to the ITF before the window closes,” he said. “Previously they would say that we have been late in initiating the process, however this time we have made sure that we are fulfilling all the formalities. The Malaysian Tennis federation is on board with us in this.”
Pakistan played their last home-tie in 2008 and since then the team is forced to compromise their choice of surface as none of the opponents would agree on visiting Pakistan due to security concerns.
Facing a similar situation in their last tie against Lebanon this year, New Zealand ended up refusing to travel to Beirut and the tie eventually took place in Auckland.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2013.