ISLAMABAD - The international tennis body Wednesday keeps Pakistan from hosting the Davis Cup tie yet again and opted for the neutral venue. Pakistan was to host Asia-Oceania Group-II final against Chinese Taipei at Defense Club, Lahore from September 18 to 20 but the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has once again refused to give a go ahead citing the security reasons.

The ITF representatives had given some assurances to Pakistan during a meeting with Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Salim Saifullah Khan on the sidelines of this year’s Wimbledon Championship but once again backed out from their promises.

PTF secretary M Khalid Rehmani, he confirmed that the PTF president was in Turkey to explore options of conducting tie in Turkey. “India has refused us to conduct our home tie at the neutral venue of Chandigarh. It was quite evident that India would not allow Pakistan for two obvious reasons, as both the countries have not been enjoying normal relations and it will be impossible for Indians to allow Pakistan to run national anthem at its soil.”

Rehmani added: “The ITF has set August 7 deadline to submit neutral venue of our liking and we are exploring our options. If the PTF chief manages to convince Turkey to provide us neutral venue, the tie will be held there, otherwise, we will look for other possible options.”

To a query regarding conducting the tie at UK’s grass courts which are most suitable to Aisam and Aqeel, Rehmani completely ruled out conducting tie in UK and said: “It is out of reach as far as expenditures are concerned as it will cost us almost Rs20 million.” When asked to pressurize the ITF to bear expenses of the tie in UK to compensate Pakistan, Rehmani replied: “We will discuss this option with the ITF upon our president’s return from Turkey.”

He said: “In case, we have no alternative option then we have a plan B, according to which we will play in Chinese Taipei. The home tie will be turned into away one and they have to come twice to play in Pakistan as we have already played once there. We have to consider a lot of things before finalizing the venue and to work on pros and cons of playing our home tie at the opponents’ venue.”

“Asiam and Aqeel are very good on grass courts but both are equally good on clay courts as well, while Abid Ali Akbar and Samir Iftikhar are also good on clay but not good on grass, so we are considering Aisam only for doubles with Aqeel, as they form formidable pair and their past track record second to none. Aqeel and Samir will play singles for Pakistan. We have quite bright chances of winning the final,” Khalid concluded.

The latest move upset Pakistan's number one tennis player Aqeel Khan who termed it step-motherly treatment of ITF towards Pakistan. “I am surprised and hurt after knowing this. I urge the ITF to rethink about it decision and allow Pakistan to host its home tie or it should compensate us by bearing all the expenses of conducting the tie in UK.”

“I strongly appeal to PTF president Salim Saifullah to raise the issue with the ITF and try to get justice from them. The international tennis body mustn’t deprive Pakistan tennis lovers of watching their players in action against international players at their home soil,” Aqeel concluded.