We do not feel safe: Mahesh Bhupathi tells AITA on India’s Davis Cup tie in Pakistan

first_imgThe Indian Davis Cup team has expressed its unwillingness to travel to Pakistan for the forthcoming Davis Cup tie in mid September and conveyed the same to the All India Tennis Association.On Monday night, Mahesh Bhupathi, non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team, wrote to AITA secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee that “the boys DO NOT want to go to Pakistan.” The mail has also been marked to all the players, coach Zeeshan Ali, Anil Khanna, life president, AITA, and Rohit Rajpal, selection committee chairman.Since last week, when the government scrapped Article 370, relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated. The Indian players were speaking in hush tones how travelling to Islamabad in the middle of September would be “traumatic.”With no signs of de-escalation between the two countries, bus and train services between India and Pakistan being cancelled, the Indian players are now very jittery.”Just to put into perspective the situation has been deteriorating on an hourly basis from August 5, so much so that this weekend the PM of Pakistan has gone on a tirade and compared our PM to Hitler. I am speaking on behalf of the team to officially put on record that most, if not all the boys on the team do not want to go to Pakistan in these circumstances. We do not feel safe regardless of what a security agency hired by the ITF feels,” wrote Bhupathi.Captain Bhupathi has also exhorted the AITA officials to speak individually to the players, if needed. “I urge you to put in a request to the ITF for a change of venue since we do not feel safe,” added Bhupathi in his email.advertisementSpeaking to Mail Today, Hironmoy Chatterjee, said they were in touch with the ITF. “We received an email from the ITF on Monday saying their security agency feels there is no change on the safety aspect in Islamabad. To my mind, the ITF is looking at only the tennis facility where the tie will be played,” said Chatterjee.He said the AITA has asked the apex tennis body to rethink on the subject. It’s very clear now the AITA is dragging its feet and not in a hurry to write to the ITF seeking a venue change. However, Chatterjee has said that process “will also be initiated soon.”Other sources in the AITA say there is virtually no chance the Indian team will travel to Pakistan. To be sure, Chatterjee himself is no longer optimistic as the situation is deteriorating. “Everyone knows that the situation is worsening and it would be best if the prestigious Davis Cup tie would be played at a neutral venue,” he added.For the record, when the sports ministry had a fortnight ago told the AITA it had no problem with the Indian Davis Cup team travelling to Pakistan, Chatterjee was quite excited about the trip to Islamabad.When Bhupathi had first written to the AITA on security concerns in Pakistan, his letter was diplomatic. This time, it’s clear that no player wants to be travelling across amidst so much unrest. The mail has also beenWhy the ITF is dragging its feet on venue change is a bit baffling as Pakistan is not a favourite destination for playing sport.Also Read | Postpone tie or shift venue suo moto: AITA tells ITF on Davis Cup clash in PakistanAlso Read | Asked AITA for neutral venue: Mahesh Bhupathi on India’s Davis Cup tie in PakistanAlso Read | ITF satisfied with security plans for Pakistan vs India Davis Cup tie in Islamabadlast_img

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