For the first time in 55 years, an Indian tennis team will travel to Pakistan to face the rival nation in the Davis Cup clash in September. All India Tennis Association Secretary-General Hiranmoy Chatterjee said that the team will be travelling to Pakistan as they have to adhere to the Olympic Charter as the event is considered to be the World Cup of tennis.
Former tennis ace and India's non-playing Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi has written to the AITA, raising security concerns for the players travelling to Pakistan and seeking clarity on the same. This comes amid tensions between India and Pakistan, with the former boycotting the latter and not sending the teams to play there over security issues. Bilateral series of any sport between India and Pakistan was suspended over Pakistan-backed terrorism and it's involvement in terror attacks on India.
The All India Tennis Association has maintained that it falls under the Sports Ministry and that the Union Ministry has not approached the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Ministry of External Affairs for any sort of clearances nor has it raised any objections to the team travelling to Pakistan. AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee has said that the International Tennis Federation has laid out strict norms regarding the security of players participating in the event and has said that the Sports Ministry has not raised the matter with the MEA or the MHA.
Earlier, Hironmoy Chatterjee had confirmed that the team would be leaving to Pakistan in September for the clash against Pakistan.
"The team of six players, support staff and coach will be going to Pakistan. I will also go along with the team. We will be putting in the visa application for everyone. Pakistan hockey team travelled to India for the World Cup and now we are also going," he added.
India last played Pakistan in the Davis Cup in 2006 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, in which the hosts managed to register a 3-2 win to take India's head-to-head tally against Pakistan to 6-0. The Davis Cup draw was rolled out in February this year, but after the Pulwama attack on February 14, the future of Indian tennis team touring Pakistan looked really bleak. Indian cricket team had last toured Pakistan in 2007, and after that, no team across any sport in the country has toured Pakistan.