India-Pakistan Group I Tie Postponed To November:Davis Cup

The International Tennis Federation has decided to postpone India’s Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie against Pakistan to November under ‘exceptional circumstance.’ ITF in a statement on Thursday said its first priority is the “safety and security of athletes, officials and spectators”. “The ITF will continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan and the Davis Cup Committee will re-convene to re-examine the security situation in advance of the tie,” said the statement.

The revised dates of the tie will be confirmed before September 9. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) had requested ITF to either postpone the tie scheduled to take place in Islamabad from September 14-15 to November or shift it to a neutral venue ‘suo motu’ at ITF’s cost in the wake of the rising diplomatic tension between the two countries.
The Indian team members had also expressed their reservation on travelling to Pakistan. The ITF’s Davis Cup Committee reviewed India’s request on Wednesday and decided to postpone the tie.

“Following an in-depth security review of the current situation in Pakistan by independent expert security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has taken the decision to postpone the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie between Pakistan and India in Islamabad, due to be played on 14-15 September.

“The Committee concluded that this is an exceptional circumstance while the first priority of the ITF is the safety and security of athletes, officials and spectators. “The tie has been rescheduled for November, with the exact dates to be confirmed by the Committee no later than September 9,” ITF said.
India’s Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi said they are happy with the decision and would hope for situation to change in two months.

“We welcome the decision of ITF. Hopefully things will normalise by then,” Bhupathi told Hindustan Times.
There has been several mail exchanges between AITA and the ITF in the last 10 days with AITA trying to convince the international body of postponing the tie. The ITF had scheduled a meeting of AITA with their security consultants on the matter but it was postponed.

“We are happy that ITF was able to understand the situation and take the right call. It is given us a window and let’s hope for the best,” said AITA general secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee.

“It was actually Pakistan’s home tie because last time (in 2006) Pakistan came to India. It wouldn’t be fair for us to ask for a venue change straightaway. We gave ITF two options—in case you feel you have to have a venue change then (it should be) as per Pakistan’s choice...we are ready to go and play (there).

“Otherwise, considering the current situation, postpone the tie by two months by which time the situation will improve and we will be able to go and play the tie in Pakistan,” said Chatterjee.
With the winner of the tie slated to make it to the Davis Cup Qualifiers, the ITF could not have maintained status quo because it would have led to forfeiture of the tie, thus benefitting Pakistan, a team lower ranked than India.