India's Davis Cup tie in Pakistan shifted to neutral venue

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The Asia/Oceania Group I tie, originally scheduled for September 14-15 in Islamabad, was postponed by the ITF to November 29-30 following a security review amid political tensions between the bitter neighbors.

"I have not heard from the AITA since Monday or after the ITF addressed the players concerns on venue and approved a neutral location - so I am available and believe I am still Captain unless I hear otherwise!"

Earlier, another senior player Rohan Bopanna, who also had refused to tour the neighbouring country, tweeted on Tuesday expressing his surprise over AITA changing the captain before International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifted the Asia/Oceania Group I tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue.

Bopanna, on Tuesday, tweeted that the players were not informed before the change in captain was announced. "Being a top professional and victor of countless worldwide and national titles, it hurts me and all those, who want to help Pakistan tennis and want players to flourish, but the federation is in no mood to use commonsense", he added.

Contrary to the incessat beliefs and actions of AITA and their manner of functioning, when it comes to the decisions they make in context to the "players" best interests'; with my years of experience and representation - I would like for the system to know that a player's best interest is when the players are heard. "When we bring our patriotism on court with raquet (sic) in hand, we also bring a voice", he wrote.

"It is not the players' prerogative to comment on administrative matters", Chatterjee told IANS.

"Selection of the captain and team is the (selection) committee and federation's responsibility".

"They were not supposed to be informed. I spoke to him and I feel he is overstepping", mentioned Chatterjee.

"Following the 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 November 29-30 must be played at a neutral venue", the ITF said late on Monday.

Bhupathi's term as the non-playing captain ended in December 2018 and he was given an extension to lead the side in the tie against Italy in February this year in Kolkata.

Ace tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi in an exclusive conversation with Republic TV on Wednesday said that as a captain it was his job to think of the best of the team and all he did was just put forth the team's security concerns.

"Why are the players commenting on this?" Pakistan have until this week to suggest a venue of their choice.

The ITF decision left many current and former Pakistan Davis Cuppers dismayed. "I am waiting for the team to be announced on November 10", said Bhupathi.

"Pakistan is a safe country, where sporting events are regularly taking place", he told Dawn. "Our top players like Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan had made it clear earlier they would not be available for selection if the tie is not played in Islamabad", PTF President Saleem Saifullah said. "It's unfair and absolutely discriminatory towards us and we have no choice but to appeal against it to the ITF".



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