AITA begin procuring Pakistan visas ahead of Davis Cup tie

AITA begin procuring Pakistan visas ahead of Davis Cup tie

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The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has decided to begin the process to procure Pakistan visas for its players and support staff. The association is willing to send a team for next month’s Davis Cup tie, in case the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rejects its requests for a neutral venue.

It is understood that the AITA will not force any player to travel Pakistan and are willing to send a second-string team to avoid suspension, relegation, and a fine by the ITF. If, however, the international body does approve the request to move the tie to a neutral venue, all top players except Prajnesh Gunneswaran — who is getting married on November 29 — is expected to make the trip.

“We are waiting for a final decision from the ITF and accordingly will take a call, but, as of now, we have to start the visa process,” AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee was quoted as saying by PTI.

The tie, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad on September 14-15, was postponed to November 29-30 by the ITF after a security review. However, it seems that after the Sri Lankan cricket team’s tour of the country, the ITF is convinced about the security measures and is expected to make a final call on November 4.

“Today’s meeting was to decide what is the stance we are taking. AITA understands players’ apprehensions. They are also with the players. They also believe that somebody has to take responsibility for security, mainly the ITF. If the ITF wants us to board a flight to Islamabad, they should take responsibility for security,” Mahesh Bhupathi said.

India finds themselves in a position to advance to the Davis Cup Qualifiers, provided they beat Pakistan and have the chance to make the newly-introduced World Groups. A forfeit, on the other hand, will result in the team being handed a suspension of one or two years and relegated to Asia/Oceania Group III.

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