Iran captain wary of Pakistan threat

Teams face off in Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II tie on Friday


Natasha Raheel February 01, 2017
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Iran’s Davis Cup team captain Saeid Ahmedvand is wary of the threat Pakistan will pose when the two sides face off in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II fixture at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad on Friday.

Ahmedvand feels that it is going to be a difficult task for his team to defeat Pakistan as the hosts are fielding a strong team. He was also quick to praise the security arrangements made for the event.

“As far as the hospitality and the hotels are concerned, everything is perfect,” Ahmedvand told The Express Tribune. “So far we are very happy to be here and we will look for the best results in the tie against Pakistan. We know they have a really good side; all the players will be tough to beat.”

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Iran are fielding Anoosha Shahgholi, Shahin Khaledan, Hamid Reza Nadaf and Amir Hossein Badi in the squad and all eyes will be on Khaledan, who according to Ahmedvand, is Iran’s best player.

“We are depending on Shahin [Khaledan], he is our best player,” said Ahmedvand. “He joined the team during the last phase of our camp because he lives in Spain, but he has performed strongly for our side in the previous ties.”

Iran won their Group II play-off against Syria 2-1 to get promoted to Group II where Shahgholi won the singles match, but Khaledan was again the key player as he helped his side win singles rubbers in three other ties that got the team to Group II.

Meanwhile, Ahmedvand added that he knows Pakistani players Aqeel Khan and Aisamul Haq Qureshi well and he is hoping that Iran’s step to come to Pakistan will encourage other countries to visit the country in the future as well.

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The International Tennis Federation (ITF) authorised Pakistan to hold a tie at home after 12 years and previously none of the foreign teams would come to Pakistan due to security concerns.

“I know these players; Aqeel even came to Iran and we’ve met him there and Aisam is a great player too; it is not going to be easy for us,” said the non-playing captain. “I can only say that I hope Pakistan can play more ties at home and other countries can see that we are here and we are happy to be here.”

Pakistan will have Muhammad Abid Mushtaq and Abid Ali Akbar in the squad in addition to Aqeel and Aisam.

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