In the Davis Cup World Group 1 Play-offs tie, Pakistan are drawn to play against India after both these teams won their home ties to qualify through to this stage. Shortly afterward, the President of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) Saifullah Khan, in an interview, refused to play at the neutral venue, if India didn’t send their team to the country.
In 2019, India requested the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to shift their Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue, because of security reasons and the tension between both countries. ITF granted the request of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to play the tie in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, with a two-month delay.
It led to the top tennis players of Pakistan, including the likes of Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan opting to not play the Davis Cup tie as a mark of protest. India managed to thrash their neighbours, who fielded a team of rookies for the tie, by a margin of 4-0.
Saifullah Khan was quoted as saying to PTI in an interview about the matter, “We won’t play in a neutral venue. If India does not want to come (to Pakistan), we will not play this tie. We will play on grass courts and the Indians are a better team. And in February-March, the weather is lovely in Islamabad.”
“They should come to Pakistan. It’s not fair that they do not come to Pakistan,” he added.
PTF President also recognised the quality of the Indian tennis team in comparison to theirs and wanted them to send a good message by travelling to their country. He said, “The Indian team is much better than us. We have a beautiful hotel just across the stadium. If Indians come, it will send a good message that we are good neighbours.”