Being tossed from one court to another — that’s the status of the India-Pakistan Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie now, with none of the stakeholders clear on whether the match will be played in Islamabad or not.
India captain Mahesh Bhupathi said on Tuesday that the players have again asked the All India Tennis Association to categorically ask the International Tennis Federation to consider a neutral venue. Asked whether he was upset with the AITA since they had only asked for a review of the security measures, and did not clearly ask for a change of venue, Bhupathi said: “We have asked them. I think they will.”
Asked if this meant that the players were unwilling to travel to Pakistan, Bhupathi told The Telegraph: “We have not discussed that yet. We will weigh our options later.”
Sources close to the players said: “The team members are rather upset with the AITA since, despite repeatedly saying that they will ask the ITF for a neutral venue, when the Indian association wrote to the ITF they had only asked for a security review.”
The fact that sports minister Kiren Rijiju said on Monday that the government won’t interfere since the Davis Cup is not a bilateral series has not gone down well too.
AITA general secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee said they were talking to the ITF to either postpone the tie change the venue. “The ITF needs to understand that we are not talking only about security at the venue. Our concern is the overall deterioration in diplomatic ties between the two countries (after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir),” he said. Told that players were not happy with the AITA, Chatterjee said: “We are doing our best. We are also worried about the players and want the security to be foolproof.”