The Indian Davis Cup team is probably going to Pakistan after a long gap of 55 years to play a tie against the hosts in September. The last time India travelled to the neighbouring country to play a Davis Cup tie was in March 1964. They managed to win the tie, which was held in Lahore, 4-0.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has stated that the central government may allow the Indian players to travel to Pakistan for the tie. "We have written to the government and hopefully we will go to Pakistan, that's the impression we have," AITA Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee was quoted as saying by PTI on Wednesday.
"It's not a bilateral series, it's (like) a World Cup, so the government will allow. I am confident we will go and play in Pakistan. We will announce it in a day or two. Pakistan Federation has mentioned that the tie will be played in Islamabad," he further added.
The last tie between the two rival nations was played in 2006 in Mumbai which India won 3-2. Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna were all part of that team. Before that India had played with Pakistan in Malaysia, 1973.
The current Indian Davis Cup team has players like Prajnesh Gunneswaran who is ranked 94 in the world and world number 154 Ramkumar Ramanathan. These two give India an upper hand over their opponents. Pakistan are not a major force in tennis but they have doubles specialist Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi who reached the US Open final by teaming up with India's Rohan Bopanna in the past.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah told PTI that they will host India on the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex. "We are hopeful of earning much-needed revenues for tennis during the live broadcast of the grass court tie as Pakistan and India sporting events garner a lot of interest."
He further added that they are pretty much confident that the Indian government would let their team play the tie in Islamabad as it is after 13 years that both the countries will meet on a tennis court.
Last year Pakistan hosted Uzbekistan, Korea and Thailand in their previous ties. It will be interesting to see if India go to Pakistan and how it affects the sporting relationship between the two countries that have been affected due to political troubles.