ISLAMABAD: India’s tennis team arrived on Sunday night for their first Davis Cup match on Pakistani soil in 60 years with the arch-rivals gearing up for the Feb 3-4 World Group-I Playoff tie by holding their respective training sessions on Monday.
Pakistan were the first to take the court at the Pakistan Sports Complex with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Aqeel Khan, Mohammad Shoaib, Muzammil Murtaza and Barkatullah doing their drills in the morning.
The evening saw India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan, N. Shriram Balaji, Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni, Niki Poonacha take part in a practice session under the supervision of their coach Zeeshan Ali.
India are missing their captain Rohit Rajpal, whose arrival in Pakistan was delayed due to a personal issue while sources in the Pakistan Tennis Federation told that the visa for player Prajwal Dev is in process as he didn’t apply on time.
India had requested to the International Tennis Federation tribunal, asking it to move the tie to a neutral venue, having successfully forced another tie in Pakistan to be shifted to Kazakhstan in 2019.
The ITF, however, rejected India’s plea, meaning India will play in Pakistan for the first time since 1964 when they won 4-0 in Lahore.
Former Davis Cupper Hameed-ul Haq told at the sidelines of the training session that the tie will help in promoting the sport in Pakistan “if both teams produce fighting contests”.
The Indian team is better on paper, whilst also having good experience of playing on grass.