Davis Cup tie against Pakistan

The legendary Vijay Amritraj on Wednesday said the national tennis federation should follow the government’s instruction on the Indian Davis Cup team’s visit to Pakistan for an upcoming tie.

“We should 100 per cent follow what the government says on the issue. They know the intricacies of what happens. I think the MEA and the Prime Minister’s Office will take a call. The global perspective in this scenario is very important,” he said while replying to a question as to whether India should travel to Pakistan.

The AITA has said that the Sports Ministry has not raised any objection to the Indian team travelling to the neighbouring nation.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the national junior tennis championship, he recalled the circumstances that led to India boycotting the 1974 Davis Cup final against South Africa over the apartheid issue.

 “It was a big call because India could have won the Davis Cup trophy. From a human perspective it was the right thing to do. It was important for India to take that stand… It was an incredibly heart-wrenching move. It was very difficult for us. As sportsmen and sportswonen we don’t see the big picture…” he added.

In 1987, India faced a similar situation as they had to face Israel in a Davis Cup quarterfinal tie and there was a call to boycott the tie, Amritraj recalled.

He, further said he took up the issue with the then Prime Minister and convinced him the importance of playing the match, which India won. In the light of Indian non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi seeking a clarification from AITA over security issues in the neighbouring nation, Amritraj, now the TNTA president, said security is vital and added “no question, both governments will pay attention, nobody will want anything to happen.”