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- Thursday, June 20, 2013 - From Print Edition


KARACHI: Pakistan will compete in Asia/Oceania Zone Group II in Davis Cup for the sixth straight year in 2014.


In April this year, Pakistan’s Asia/Oceania Group II second round tie against New Zealand was halted and the latter awarded the victory due to “an unplayable court”. Pakistan were hosting the tie in Myanmar.


“The Pakistan Tennis Federation should not lose hope and protest against the referee’s unjust decision that deprived us of a sure entry in the group one” said Pakistan’s top player Aqeel Khan. “We should still ask for a home tie and if not we should again go for neutral venue.”


He said they were sure of winning the appeal against the biased decision of the referee but the board of directors of International Tennis Federation (ITF) thought otherwise. “Believing that we have been victims of a biased decision, we should not stop protesting against it. We should be given home tie this time and PTF must ask for it,” he added.


Aqeel said Islamabad is a safe city where Davis Cup ties can be held. “PTF should propose a visit of ITF’s security team so that they can see themselves there is no threat,” he added.


Asked why the PTF should go for a neutral venue after such a mess, Aqeel, who has played 16 Davis Cup ties for Pakistan, said there was no harm in going for a neutral venue. “We can play in Myanmar again because the courts there are of international standard. It was a poor referee who had never supervised matches on grass courts,” he added.


To a question of his availability next year, he said he would try his best to be available for Pakistan. The loss against New Zealand lowered Pakistan’s Davis Cup ranking by one place to 54.


Pakistan’s best Davis Cup performance came in 2005, when they reached the World Group play-offs. They were also one step away from qualifying for the World Group when they lost the 1984 Eastern Zone final against Japan.


Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan was involved in the longest-known Davis Cup tiebreak against Korea’s Young-Jun Kim in 2003 — the first set breaker lasted 36 points.