Sports and geopolitics are about to mix again as India and Pakistan have been drawn to play each other in the Davis Cup playoffs if security issues are no concern, would be scheduled this week. Unlike cricket, tennis hardly has an euphoria with the sports lovers especially involving two neighbours who are not on the comfortable position. If played as scheduled, it would be the first tie between the two nations held in Pakistan in the Open Era since March 1964 in Lahore. India had won the tie 4-0. India and Pakistan have regularly restricted sports competitions against each other on home soil because of politics and security concerns. Both the federation and Indian government have suggested that approval could be given if there are no significant security developments. Pakistan had not been allowed to hold home ties for 12 years until the ITF changed its security assessment for the country in 2017. A tie against India holds heightened security concerns, representing another level of geopolitical significance. Still, security challenges are nothing new for Davis Cup, which is played across the world and has more countries participating than any other sports competition. India and Pakistan have played each other six times in Davis Cup, with the Indians winning all six meetings. The most recent was in Mumbai in 2006. Their previous meeting before that was played on neutral ground in 1976, but would otherwise have been held in Pakistan based on the Davis Cup tradition of alternating ties between each country. The prior tie had been played in Patna, India in 1970. The two countries played each other three successive years between 1962 and 1964, with the Indians hosting a tie in Poona in 1963 and Pakistan in Lahore in 1962 and 1964. India, which has a formidable side in Asia/Oceania zone, has never lost to Pakistan in six meetings so far. In 1971 when Pakistanis were hosts, India had handed a walk over. Whereas Pakistan would be no match to India since none of their singles players are even ranked on ATP computer as per the new regulations. So let’s wait and watch for the outcome and will this be new step to thaw strained ties.
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