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AITA to press for neutral Davis Cup venue

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AITA to press for neutral Davis Cup venue

The All India Tennis Association will on Monday be speaking to representatives of the International Tennis Federation in London via Skype to decide on the forthcoming Davis Cup tie against Pakistan.

Since the time India were drawn to meet Pakistan in an away tie in the Asia-Oceania group, doubts have persisted over it happening. Yet, last month, the ITF had told the AITA their security agency was satisfied with the arrangements in Islamabad for the mid-September tie.

Over the last fortnight, relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated. Even Pakistan's star player Aisam Qureshi has now spoken out against the Indians unwillingness to travel and said harsh things.

With members of the Indian team and captain Mahesh Bhupathi not willing to risk travelling to Pakistan, Monday's Skype call assumes importance.

Bhupathi and AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee will be on the call and are hopeful of convincing the ITF that a neutral venue would be the best option as travel to Islamabad is virtually ruled out.

The AITA had also written to the ITF last week that the tie be postponed. With no positive reply coming, the AITA has decided to press for a neutral venue. "We will request the ITF to have the tie on a neutral venue so that both the teams are comfortable," said Chatterjee. "There is a Davis Cup rule that if there is political unrest, the tie be postponed or played in a neutral place," added Chatterjee.

"The ground situation in Pakistan is such that no sporting team would want to travel at this point of time," said a leading Indian player.

A scare has been created that if the ITF does not accede to India's request, then it could result in a forfeiture. On Sunday night, the mood in the AITA and Davis Cup team was one of confidence.

The worst case is if the ITF acts tough, India will get relegated to the Asia Ocenia Group 2.

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