Davis Cup: ITF shifts Indo-Pak tie to neutral venue

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Ending weeks of speculation, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Monday decided to shift India’s Davis Cup tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue, saying safety of players and officials was its priority.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) had made repeated requests to the world governing body to shift the November 29-30 tie to a neutral venue, citing safety concerns.

“Following a review of the latest advice given by the ITF’s independent security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has taken the decision that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie between Pakistan and India on 29-30 November 2019, must be played at a neutral venue,” the ITF said in a statement.

“The ITF and Davis Cup Committee’s first priority has always been the safety of athletes, officials and spectators and the decision was made on this basis,” it added.

According to Davis Cup regulations, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) now has five working days to choose and confirm their proposed venue. India’s top singles and doubles players pulled out of the tie, forcing AITA to consider fielding a second-string side.

Rajpal to stay as captain

The AITA was willing to send its team to Islamabad if ITF had insisted as the federation also announced former player and chairman of selectors Rohit Rajpal as non-playing captain of the side for the matches.

“Rohit will stay as captain of the side. He will talk to the top players if they are available,” AITA President Parveen Mahajan told PTI.

AITA had maintained that atmosphere was not conducive to play in Pakistan ever since the Indian government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and made it a union territory.

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