Pakistan ready to host next Davis Cup tie

PTF wants to hold Philippines fixture at home or on neutral venue .

Natasha Raheel February 17, 2014
PTF took the decision after Pakistan won their first round tie against Vietnam 3-2 on Sunday. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) will try to hold the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group II tie at home or in Malaysia on a neutral venue in April.

PTF took the decision after Pakistan won their first round tie against Vietnam 3-2 on Sunday.

Their second round fixture will be against Philippines, who have won the last three meetings between the two teams.

“Our first option will be to hold the tie in Pakistan,” PTF President Kaleem Imam told The Express Tribune. “It’s something we want but we understand that it will be a difficult preposition due to the security situation in the country.”

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Since 2005, Pakistan have not played any tie at home as opponents have refused to tour due to security concerns.

Consequently the team was forced to play on their opponent’s choice of surface which has affected their progress in the prestigious Davis Cup tournament.

Pakistan have been stuck in Asian Oceania Group II since 2009, while key players Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan have said that their goal will be to take the team to Group I this year.

Imam added that in case of a rejection from the International Tennis Federation (ITF), PTF will opt for Malaysia.

“If we don’t play in Pakistan, our next option is Malaysia because we have grass courts there, which are favourable for us,” Imam stated.

‘Hosting a Davis Cup tie a costly affair’

Imam claimed that holding the tie on a neutral venue will cost at least Rs4 million, but the federation would press for playing on the surface of their choice.

The PTF and the players had a bitter experience last year, when a Sri Lankan referee awarded a match to New Zealand against Pakistan on a neutral venue in Myanmar.

Pakistan were winning the tie before the referee declared New Zealand as winners stating that the courts were ‘unplayable’.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.

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