Sun, Apr 07, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Hole in court proves costly for Pakistan

Reuters and AFP, WELLINGTON and ISLAMABAD

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 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,” he said.

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.

There were also issues with uneven bounce and the players were unsure of their footing on the court, Hunt said.

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

Pakistan Tennis Federation president Kaleem Imam yesterday said the decision was unjust.

“We are devastated at the decision,” Imam said. “If the surface had any problems why didn’t the referee tell us before the tie started, or why did he allow the first match to go on. We are going to lodge a protest against the decision.”

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