In a huge victory for India and equally big embarrassment & "loss of face" for Pakistan as far as sports diplomacy is concerned, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has decided to shift out the Davis Cup tie to be held later this month between the two nations from Islamabad to a neutral venue on security grounds.
AIl India Tennis Association General Secretary Hiranmoy Chatterjee said Indian players were happy that India-Pakistan tie will now be held at a neutral venue, a decision taken by ITF. "We are happy with the decision and that good sense prevailed. The security situation in Pakistan was not conducive to play the Davis Cup tie there. We have been demanding a neutral venue and we have got it. Obviously, its a victory for our sports diplomacy. Players did not play any role in it. Its an independent decision taken by ITF not under any pressure but on AITA's demand to review the security situation. They did it and found merit in our demands and that's why they have shifted this out," Hiranmoy Chatterjee told Republic TV on a telephonic conversation.
A statement released by ITF said “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 were made on this basis. The Pakistan Tennis Federation now has five working days to choose and confirm their proposed venue".
India’s top singles and doubles players pulled out of the tie, forcing AITA to consider fielding a second-string side if ITF had insisted as the federation also announced former player and chairman of selectors Rohit Rajpal as non-playing captain of the side for the matches.