aqeel khan, tennis, pakistan tennis
Aqeel Khan. -File photo

KARACHI: Pakistan officials have complained to tennis governing body the ITF that their players were left distraught and the team suffered financial loss after they were disqualified from a Davis Cup tie against New Zealand.

Pakistan were on course to take a 2-0 lead in the three-day Asia/Oceania Group II tie on Friday when Sri Lankan referee Asitha Attygalla abandoned the contest due to an “unplayable court” in the neutral venue of Yangon, Myanmar.

As the encounter had been a designated 'home' tie for Pakistan, who are unable to host matches due to security concerns, Attygalla awarded victory to New Zealand.

Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president Kaleem Imam told Reuters that Attygalla's decision was a “disaster” and added:

“Our manager said the players were very distraught after the referee's decision.

“We spent thousands of dollars on preparing for this tie and sending a full-fledged squad to Yangon. We were desperate to win this tie and confident we could do it.

“We had no option but to complain to the ITF (International Tennis Federation) after the referee awarded the entire tie to New Zealand claiming the playing surface was dangerous.”

Pakistan's Aqeel Khan beat New Zealand's Artem Sitak in the opening singles while Pakistan doubles specialist Aisam Qureshi was leading Daniel King Turner 6-2 3-6 3-0 in the second singles when the Sri Lankan referee halted the tie.

New Zealand captain Alistair Hunt said on Friday the match had to be abandoned because a hole about “an inch deep and half a foot wide... opened up on the baseline, which proved too dangerous to play on”.

Pakistan, however, feel the court was still playable.

“What we have complained is that when the grass surface was okay for the first match, what went wrong in just a few hours time that it turned unplayable? We also met all requirements asked for by the referee,” Imam said.

The PTF official said Pakistan had chosen Yangon, Myanmar as a venue over Dubai and India because of the grass courts which Pakistani players favour.

Pakistan have been forced to host international matches in many sports at neutral venues as foreign teams have refused to travel to the country after eight Pakistanis were killed following an attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in March 2009.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (10)

April 7, 2013 9:17 am
From an earlier news, this news item makes much more sense. PTF officials wanted to play on Grass Courts and chose this neutral venue. As it turned out the venue chosen by PTF (HOME Match) was not up to the standard and the match official therefore had to award the tie to NZ. What is PTF complaining about now? They didn't do their due diligence correctly and wasted the thousands of dollars (referred in the article above). PTF should stop wasting time now and learn from the error / wrong call on the venue and start doing their homework BEFORE they act (not AFTER).
April 7, 2013 9:54 am
What a time, when Myanmar is considered safer than Pakistan.
April 7, 2013 1:20 pm
PTF decided to play in Myanmar, a country with no history of sports and living in 19th century thanks to international sanctions over options in UAE and India. Now they have themselves to blame.
April 7, 2013 1:30 pm
What they did not fair to Pakistan; Pakistan was winning anyway. Players from New Zeland should have toughed it out, just as the Pakistani players were doing.
April 7, 2013 4:56 pm
And why was the tie being held in Burma instead of Dubai, which has much better facilities ? I think the PTF has to answer a lot of questions. Also doesn't the ITF check the venues before the matches are to begin ? How can this be an issue when 2 out of 4 matches have already been played ?
April 7, 2013 9:45 pm
you are talking referee view point.
April 8, 2013 3:16 am
The referee is from Sri Lanka and cant be blamed as biased by PTF, PTF fault that one, no due diligence
April 8, 2013 4:52 am
Bad reporting by dawn staff. The article leaves the impression that it was another conspiracy against the pious nation when they were winning and the match was awarded to New Zeland. What was the rationale behind this decision. Was PTF responsible for choosing this venue? Why did they choose Myanmar of all the places in teh world? Does New Zeland not have grass courts? Are'nt there any in Sri Lanks? Another round of applause for the Taliban who attacked the Sri Lankan Cricket team. The are still out there, no one is trying to catch them.
April 8, 2013 5:56 am
Picking Yangoon over Dubai or India is such a shame. I am sure the Pakistanis would have found more supporters in India than in Yangoon.
April 8, 2013 7:08 am
This is really unfortunate! I thing PTF should have thought sensible and should have chosen a venue with some standards. India would have been better but has two contries do not have very cordial relations, Pakistan could have chosen Dubai or may be Sri Lanka.
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