KARACHI: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has granted permission to Pakistan to play their Davis Cup Asia Oceania zone group two second round rubber against New Zealand at a neutral venue in Myanmar from April 5 to 7.

“We are very relieved after the ITF acceded to our request by allowing us to play the next tie at a neutral venue on grass courts,” the President of Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), Dr Syed Kaleem Imam, told Dawn from Sudan.

It is pertinent to mention that this will be for the first time in recent years that Pakistan tennis team will play its Davis Cup home tie at a neutral venue similar to Pakistan cricket team which plays the home series away from home.

Foreign teams have refused to travel to Pakistan for the last couple of years owing to security concerns.

“The PTF has suggested Myanmar (grass courts) as a neutral venue which suits Pakistan after failing to get positive response from Malaysia,” he added.

The PTF chief added that Senator Syed Dilawar Abbas and Ehtisham-ul-Haq, father of tennis celebrity Aisam-ul-Haq, have played a key role in getting the nod for neutral venue.

According to Kaleem Imam, Pakistan will retain the same team that won the first-round tie against Sri Lanka at Colombo 3-2 last month. The team comprised Aisam-ul-Haq, Aqeel Khan, Yasir Khan and Mohammad Abid.

It may be mentioned that New Zealand thrashed Lebanon 5-0 in the first round at Auckland.

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