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pakistan davis cup, pakistan new zealand davis cup, aqeel khan, aisam-ul-haq, Artem Sitak, Dan King-Turner, International Tennis Federation, Asitha Attygalla, Alistair Hunt, Pun Hlaing Golf and Country Club
Pakistan's Aqeel Khan (pictured) won the first singles rubber against Artem Sitak while Aisam Qureshi was leading Dan King-Turner 3-0 in the third set of the second when the tie was abandoned. -Photo by AFP

WELLINGTON: New Zealand have been awarded their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II tie against Pakistan after a hole about “an inch deep and half a foot wide” developed on the court in Myanmar.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said match referee Asitha Attygalla made the decision because of the unplayable surface on the grass courts in the neutral venue of Yangon, which was used because of security concerns in Pakistan.

“It has been a rough court from day one, concerns which we voiced,” New Zealand captain Alistair Hunt told Radio Sport.

“The court only lasted about a match and a half before a reasonably good hole opened up on the baseline, which proved too dangerous to play on and the referee has called it.”

Hunt said earlier that the hole had developed to “about an inch deep and half a foot wide” by the time Sri Lankan referee Attygalla called the tie off and awarded it to New Zealand 4-1.

The court also had issues with uneven bounce, while the players were unsure of their footing, Hunt said.

Pakistan's Aqeel Khan won the first singles rubber against Artem Sitak while Aisam Qureshi was leading Dan King-Turner 3-0 in the third set of the second when the tie was abandoned.

Hunt said the facility at the Pun Hlaing Golf and Country Club had only two grass courts available for the tie, which both teams practised on throughout the week.

“It's a brave ask for two grass courts to support that all week,” Hunt said.

“The court was definitely not up to scratch from day one.

“From Myanmar's point of view they did everything they could and have treated us very well... but I don't think they really understood what was expected of a court for a Davis Cup match and it was a pretty tough ask for them to come up with it at short notice.”

As things stand New Zealand will play the winners of the Thailand-Philippines tie for a place in Group I next year but the furious Pakistani camp is appealing the decision.

“It's a disaster,” Pakistan Tennis Federation President Kaleem Imam told reporters in Pakistan.

“The decision is unfair and it feels like the referee has gifted the tie to New Zealand.

“Our question is that if the first match of the day, which Ageel won, can take place then why did the referee have issues with the court during the second match?

“Declaring the entire tie in New Zealand's favour is just wrong.”

Imam added that the Pakistan players were in shock.

“My players are broken,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate that such a high profile event was marred because of a minor mistake of a certain individual.”

Tennis NZ CEO Steve Johns says the blame for the disastrous tie should be shared between the ITF and PTF.

“The reason I say that is because the way it works is that if we have a tie here we provide the ITF with a whole lot of information about the facility and the ITF then say if they approve it,” Fairfax NZ News quoted Johns as saying.

Pakistan will no doubt want the tie replayed at another venue, but the only other window in the tennis calendar set aside for the Davis Cup is in September, which is when the winner of this tie and the one between Philippines and Thailand will take place.

“It would be extremely difficult to fit it in before September,” said Johns.

“If it was around the other way, we'd be doing what Pakistan are doing. They are desperate to get back up to Group One so they'll try every avenue that's available for them to get the tie replayed.”

“But the rules are the rules and the ITF are very strict at sticking to them.

“Like a lot of people, we were surprised that Myanmar got the tie, but we trusted the ITF that they would make the right decision and they were saying that the facilities were suitable and that the tie could be played there.

“When the team arrived, the reports coming back were that the courts were not good, it is a disappointing position to be in.

“For the tie to end up in this situation where we've come away with a win is a bit of a hollow victory.”

Comments (35) Closed

Asif Kashmiri Apr 06, 2013 12:17pm
shame on the match referee..
Asif Kashmiri Apr 06, 2013 01:25pm
how strange, someone did not like my comment...
Adnan A Apr 06, 2013 01:27pm
Pakistan should launch a strong protest against the decision and ITF should also be made to prevent Asitha Attygalla from being a referee for any Pakistan game. Clearly her judgement is clouded against Pakistan.
Ali Dada Apr 06, 2013 02:48pm
Good lesson for PTF to avoid playing in unknown places in future. What Facilities can a place like Myanmar provide?
nasir ahmed Apr 06, 2013 02:58pm
This smells like racism to me? Why does Pakistan even allow racism against its players? Protest loudly and let the world know that this can't stand? Approach all media organizations. Raise a big hue and cry. Take a page out of India's playbook.
Tariq Rahman Apr 06, 2013 03:01pm
Shame on PTF for not checking the venue properly. It was their home base and they are responsible. I am a Pakistani but fact is fact. Dawn should have given some more details in any case to give a clear picture to its readers.
Saeed Apr 06, 2013 03:03pm
Referee give the right call it is responsibility of tennis official to check the court as a host. Pakistan is in big trouble, without sports no nation survive .
Dr athar abbas Apr 06, 2013 03:42pm
The reporter fails to mention why the tie is awarded to new zealand when pakistan won the only completed match of the tie and leading in the next one? Just a strange incomprehensible decision?
Brijesh Apr 06, 2013 06:05pm
Shame on Pakistan for its inability to host international events...
Omair Apr 06, 2013 06:44pm
I don't get it. How can the match referee award the match to New Zealand? The tie was supposed to be played in Pakistan but ITF changed the location due to security concerns in Pakistan, hence the rule of defaulting the host nation due to unplayable court does not apply here. Pakistan team captain should raise this issue with ITF. This is completely unfair in my point of view.
skeptic Apr 06, 2013 06:44pm
No sir,shame on the Pakistan tennis federation for choosing such an ordinary place for the tie. This was their call and therefore they are the ones who are responsible for this mess.
menstennisblog Apr 06, 2013 06:45pm
I don
manub3047 Apr 06, 2013 09:28pm
Disgusting to see the countries like New Zealand crying again. on what basis was this scoreline decided. If Pakistan was in the lead then they should have won. Utter partiality towards the Asian countries continues. They just can't let us develop. USA comes and sell arms to both India and Pakistan so that we keep on fighting and their arms business keep on mushrooming. They all are the same.
ahmed2030 Apr 06, 2013 09:52pm
Also shame on ITF. But I think Pakistan has become the global football, everyone can kick it and get away with it. Add to that Pakistanis themselves kick themselves all the time. First we need to develop some self respect, get back on our feet and than challenge all this biased treatment that Pakistanis receive.
Asif Kashmiri Apr 06, 2013 10:36pm
very well said Ahmed.
Asif Kashmiri Apr 06, 2013 10:38pm
if u dont have anything good to say about Pakistan, you can always go and read times of india, trust me you will not be disappointed.
Ali Vaqar Awan Apr 07, 2013 12:08am
Match refree is a cheat and he should be baned foreover. He made pathetic decision to award tie to New Zealand. He is no relevant authority to take that step. It discrimination showed towards Pakistan as was in wining position. New Zealand are cry babies and they feared losing to Pakistan.
Ahsan Apr 07, 2013 02:02am
This episode begs the question that what were the PTF officials doing when they did not even check the tennis courts? Moreover, Ehtishamul haq was instrumental in getting the tie arranged in Burma. Why couldn't they find a grass court somewhere in the middle east or Srilanka?
Taq Apr 07, 2013 03:03am
Typical white mentality towards asians....not surprised at all.
Yogesh Apr 07, 2013 03:51am
Country and court was selected by PTF .. not by Device cup authority . venue is home turf for Pakistan as per rules. Don't blame PTF for their poor management they should have enough money to organize such event outside of Pakistan. Now .. learn from mistake and make sure in feature learning will be implemented in all such sports events.
Afzal Khan Apr 07, 2013 03:57am
It,s not fair and Pakistan should wake up and stand up for there wrights that is completley un fair and bais of referee side of it because he is from Sri Lanka and he did favor to New Zeland because they are there master wake up this is 20th centurey.
insearchoftrinity Apr 07, 2013 04:04am
Country and court was selected by PTF .. not by Device cup authority . venue is home turf for Pakistan as per rules. Don
khan Apr 07, 2013 04:55am
The referee is from Sri Lanka. "partiality towards the Asian countries " nonsense.
Nair Apr 07, 2013 05:01am
Manub, please don't drag all the Asian countries into ths issue. Pakistan must learn to fight its own battles!!!!!! India has never been discrminated against by the ITF and we strongly believe that Pakistan too hasn't been. In the first place, Pakistan was not able to provide a suitable venue in their land and to top it all conducted it in a venue which again was totally unsuitable to conduct such an event and now why are you making such a hue and cry? What do you expect now? To award all the Davis Cup matches to Pakistan and along with it the Davis Cup, probably renaming it as Dawood Cup??? Grow up and stop whining!!!!!!
sfomann Apr 07, 2013 06:56am
how strange, someone did not like the comment of your comment
Osman Apr 07, 2013 07:49am
Who chose the neutral venue? A fundamental question that Dawn (author) failed to address. 1- If ITF chose the venue and PTF agreed, then ITF is at fault and the tie must be replayed. 2- If PTF chose the venue and ITF agreed, then PTF is at fault and PTF officials are to blame. Since the article does not address the core issue, Dawn is just confusing the Pakistan public with incomplete and inconclusive news article.
murtazarzai Apr 07, 2013 10:10am
ur point of view doesnt matter
murtazarzai Apr 07, 2013 10:14am
ofcourse it is a matter of shame that no country ready to play in pakistan n deal with it instead of blaming
murtazarzai Apr 07, 2013 10:19am
maybe in 2530 tournament
menstennisblogair Apr 07, 2013 11:19am
lol! My point of view is based on the ITF rule book. ITF rule book is silent if the tie is played at a neutral venue due to security concerns in the host country.
Shubs Apr 07, 2013 12:12pm
Amazing how in Pakistan, a botched tennis tournament can also be connected to USA, India and the international arms trade!! Actually, I'm surprised Israel wasn't mentioned at all!
Shubs Apr 07, 2013 12:16pm
Yes, a Sri Lankan referee was being "racist" by ruling against Pakistan in favor of New Zealand. Which parallel universe do you live in?
Razi Apr 07, 2013 12:17pm
What is Pak Tennis Committee/Board doing....obviously gone for shopping and fun............
murtazarzai Apr 07, 2013 02:26pm
good ,go n help pak team in representing their case in ITF
Kashif Apr 08, 2013 04:33am
First of all its Davis cup and not Device Cup. Moreover, the neutral venue was decided/approved by ITF and not PTF. Since, ITF decides/approves the neutral venure then how could Pakistan be blamed and made the scape goat. I think you guys should grow up and stop this nonesense against Pakistan and re-read the article.