The Indian Davis Cup team’s loss to Italy in the Qualifiers has downgraded them to participate in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group 1 tie. They will be meeting their Pakistani counterpart in mid-September this year. The draw ceremony took place in London this year, and the winner will qualify for the World Group Qualifiers.
The Indian tennis squad has never been to Pakistan since March 1964, that year India won 4-0 against Pakistan in Lahore. Their venue of the match is yet to be announced since the central government abides by their current policy of not allowing their sporting teams to cross the Indian borders and stepping into the neighbouring countries. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has not permitted the Indian cricket team to travel to Pakistan for any bilateral contest since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. Previously, India and Pakistan met in Davis Cup 2006, where India triumphed over them by 3-2.
However, the secretary general, Hironmoy Chatterjee of All India Tennis Association (AITA) is sanguine about the Indian team touring to Pakistan since India’s surrender would result to a two-year suspension from the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Further, he justified his opinion about Indians travelling to Pakistan. He provided rationale examples of the Pakistani athletes travelling to India. During the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, Pakistan participated. And also during the 2016 South Asian Games, India host them. If India can host the Pakistani athletes, the other way around can possibly take place.
“We are affiliated to the International Olympic Council (IOC). Tennis is an Olympic sport. According to the Olympics solidarity programme, anybody, which is under IOC is supposed to participate in all the events. This is the World Cup of tennis,” Chatterjee said. “Cricket is ruled by an autonomous body (BCCI) and it is not an Olympic sport. It has got nothing to do with it. If we don’t go, we will be banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).”