India and Australia are on the warpath over the venue of their Davis Cup clash, scheduled from May 8 to 11 in Chennai. Australia don’t want to travel to India, citing security concerns and have urged the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to move the tie to a neutral venue or to Australia itself.
The ITF has decided to send a security assessment team to India. ITF communications officer Nick Imison told HT from London that while they were not looking at a neutral venue, they would send a team. “We will be sending security experts on April 6. The fate of the Chennai tie depends on this assessment.
All India Tennis Association secretary-general Anil Khanna on Friday called Tennis Australia’s claims unwarranted.
"We are quite concerned with the way things are being portrayed," Khanna said, adding that comparing the three day tennis event to the movement moving of the 59-match, six week, eight-city Indian Premier League was unjustified.
The First Secretary (Political and Economic) at the Australian High Commission here, Tim Huggins, told HT Australia were maintaining a "high degree of caution" in their travel advisory for India. "We are aware of the public discussions of the security of all the sporting events in India. The decision to participate in the tie is for Tennis Australia to take. And they are taking advice from the Government regarding this issue."
While the ITF will take a final call, Indian authorities are ready to protest if a decision to move the tie is taken. Khanna said they would ask instead, that Australia forfeit the tie. He has also written to the ITF criticising Australia for its stand on travelling to other Asian countries, naming 21 countries that he believes Australia would object travelling to. "Should Australia be a part of Asia Oceania?" his letter states.
"In today's day and age every country in the world is facing problems. Racism, terrorism… are all world issues. Why are they pointing fingers on us only?" said Khanna.
“We don’t visualise a neutral venue at all. We will only play in India.”
“The ITF is an independent body and we are hopefull they will take a fair decision.”