India-Pakistan Davis Cup to be played at neutral venue, confirms ITF
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on Monday that the India-Pakistan Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie will be played at a neutral venue on November 29-30. The Indian team, led by non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi, had appealed for a change of venue citing security reasons.
Following a review of the latest advice given by independent security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has decided to move the tie out of Pakistan. Originally, the contest was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in September, but owing to the request by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to request, the match was rescheduled.
"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 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,” the ITF statement said, reported TOI.
"As per the Davis Cup Regulations, the Pakistan Tennis Federation now has the choice to nominate a neutral venue and has five working days to confirm their proposed venue. The venue will be announced once the choice has been submitted and approved," the statement added.
Whether the AITA will now make changes to the squad and call back the players who refused to travel to Pakistan, including Bhupathi, is yet to be seen. The association had named a second-string squad, led by veteran Leander Paes, in the interim to make up for the others.