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Pakistan’s tennis authorities disappointed with Hong Kong’s Davis Cup snub

Pakistan, which went without international tennis at home for 12 years, hosted the Iranian squad in January and won the tie 3-2 to advance into the next round of Davis Cup

tennis Updated: Mar 22, 2017 12:43 IST
PTI
PTI
davis cup,pakistan,hong kong
Aqeel Khan (L) and team coach Rashid Ahmad Malik (2L) of Pakistan, and Shahin Khaledan (2R) and team captain Saeed Ahmadvand (R) of Iran pose for a photograph ahead of their Davis Cup tennis group II match at the Sports Complex in Islamabad on February 3, 2017. The International Tennis Federation announced on Tuesday that Hong Kong had withdrawn from their Davis Cup tiein Pakistan citing security concerns.(AFP)

Pakistan’s tennis authorities expressed disappointment at the decision of Hong Kong to not travel to Islamabad for the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone two tie next month.

“It is very disappointing for us because, after successfully hosting our first Davis Cup home tie against Iran in 12 years, we were looking forward to organising the matches against Hong Kong and we had all security plans in place,” Pakistan Tennis Federation secretary Khalid Rehmani said.

The International Tennis Federation announced yesterday that Hong Kong had withdrawn from its tie citing security concerns.

An Iranian fan holds a flag as she watches a Davis Cup match between Pakistan and Iran at the Sports Complex in Islamabad on February 5, 2017. (AFP)

Pakistan, which went without international tennis at home for 12 years, hosted the Iranian squad in January and won the tie 3-2 to advance into the next round.

The ITF had told Iran it would have to play in Pakistan although the Iranians also initially expressed reservations over security.

Rehmani said Hong Kong withdraw from the tie after first challenging the ITF Davis Cup committee’s decision that they should play in Pakistan. “But after the independent tribunal ruled it was safe to play in Pakistan, Hong Kong withdrew from the tie,” he added.

Team coach Rashid Ahmad Malik (L) greets Mohammad Abid of Pakistan after he won points against Shahin Khaledan of Iran during their Davis Cup tennis match at the Sports Complex in Islamabad on February 5, 2017. (AFP)

He said the case will now be sent back to the independent tribunal to find out if Hong Kong had breached tournament rules by refusing to play in Pakistan despite ITF instructions.

Rehmani said the ITF had also only given the go-ahead for Pakistan to host Iran and then Hong Kong after being satisfied with the security arrangements made by the PTF.

‘Pakistan Super League, a good advertisement’

“It is time foreign teams realised that Pakistan is capable of providing the best security and hospitality for them. The Pakistan Super League (T20) final was recently held in Lahore despite tough conditions. What more does Pakistan have to prove to foreign teams,” Rehmani said.

Several foreign players, who took part in the PSL in Dubai and Sharjah, had refused to play the final in Lahore. The big names included like Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Brad Haddin, Luke Wright, Nathan McCullum and Rilee Rossouw.

But West Indian Darren Sammy and Englishmen Chris Jordan and David Mallan came for the final.

Since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, international sports in Pakistan has been hit hard with teams refusing to travel to the country.

First Published: Mar 22, 2017 12:09 IST