Islamabad set to host Pak-India Davis Cup tie

Islamabad set to host Pak-India Davis Cup tie

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has announced hosting India in a high-profile Davis Cup Group I tie at the Pakistan Sports Complex Grass Courts on September 14-15.

PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan told ‘The News’ that Davis Cup tie of the decade would be staged in Islamabad on Saturday and Sunday instead of Friday and Saturday at the recently laid grass courts.

As the Davis Cup organisers unveiled the new format following weeks of deliberations, Pakistan along with India, Lebanon, China, Korea and Uzbekistan have been placed in Group I.

The team winning the Group I tie would directly make it to play-off of the World Group — a stage where the world’s best are to flex their muscles.

“The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has acknowledged Pakistan’s surge to the top in Asia and thus has included the team amongst the best in the continent. The leading teams in Asia will have the opportunity to make it to the World Group.”

Saifullah said that the PTF has picked the grass courts as the best surface for the important tie. “The choice of the court is with Pakistan and as such India would be coming to Pakistan for the very first time to figure in the tie. There is no denying the fact that tennis in India is far advance and their players are considered amongst the best around. Some of India’s players are even ranked within the top 200 in the world. We are a developing tennis country and largely depend on the ability of our two leading players Aisamul Haq and Aqeel Khan to help us get through. I am hopeful and confident that the two would continue to excel for Pakistan.”

The PTF president said that a proper planning and strategy is required to put up a resolute performance against India in the crunch and historic tie.

“Admitted that India is strong and a better side but when it comes to playing against Pakistan, predicting winner in any game would not be easier. With the crowd at the back, Pakistan players would be in an upbeat mood to put up top performance.”

When asked if India prefer staying away from the tie, Saifullah said the ITF rules are very strong.

“Pakistan would be declared winners automatically as in the new format skipping or making one excuse or the other to stay away from the tie results in serious consequences.”

The PTF president also claimed that efforts are underway to prepare backup of the two legends of Pakistan tennis.

“Realizations of preparing Aisam and Aqeel’s backups are very much there and that is the reason why we have started wholehearted efforts at National Tennis Centre (NTC). I am confident that the NTC would help us prepare youngsters who would go on to represent the country in Davis Cup and other international events.”

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