Pakistan host India Davis Cup tie for first time in 60 years

The two sides meet in a Group 1 playoff fixture on the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad

By AFP

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Pakistan tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. — X
Pakistan tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. — X

Published: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 6:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 6:31 PM

Pakistan host arch-political foe India this weekend in their first Davis Cup tennis clash on home soil in six decades -- one of the few encounters in any sport between the two nations in years.

The two sides meet in a Group 1 playoff fixture on the grass courts of the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad, although it has yet to be decided if spectators will be allowed because of security concerns.

When India and Pakistan were forged out of violent partition 76 years ago, the split also created one of sport's greatest rivalries -- mostly in cricket, but also in hockey and other events.

But political differences over Kashmir mean sporting teams from each side rarely visit the other unless taking part in sanctioned multi-national events.

"Hopefully this tie will act as an example of a bridge between Pakistan and India, as I'll love to see the Indian cricket team play in our country in the near future," home player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi said.

India team manager Sunil Yajman said the team were looking forward to the tie.

"The whole team is extremely happy and excited to be in Pakistan," he told AFP.

India last played a Davis Cup match against Pakistan in 2019, winning 4-0 in neutral Kazakhstan.

Pakistan last played on Indian soil in 2006.

Neither side is rated particularly high in the world tennis pecking order, but Pakistan's Qureshi said he expected a competitive clash.

"Three of their players are in the top 100 of the world doubles rankings while the singles players are also competitive -- especially on the grass court," he said.

"We'll try our level best to compete and give our all on the court."

The two doubles and two singles matches take place on Saturday and Sunday, with Monday set aside as a reserve day in case of rain.

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