Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Philippines to host series instead
LONDON -- Pakistan lost the right to host its Davis Cup series against the Philippines because of security fears in the wake of the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team.
Pakistan was to host the July 10-12 best-of-five series, but the ITF said the Philippines will have the choice of venue "based upon existing advice from the ITF's security consultants."
"The Philippines has been told, 'It's your right to host it now. Can you tell us where and when?' " ITF spokesman Neil Robinson said Wednesday.
Pakistan, which reached the semifinals of the Asia-Oceania zone's Group II by defeating Oman 4-1 this month, had been scheduled to host the first-round series. Instead, it was played in the Omani capital of Muscat because the ITF's security consultant advised the tennis body to change the venue to another country.
Last week, tennis authorities in the Philippines asked the series be moved to Manila because of fears that its players may be attacked. Three of the five Filipino players, including Cecil Mamiit, are dual U.S.-Philippine citizens, and Philippine Lawn Tennis Association vice president Randy Villanueva feared they may be targeted because of their American passports.
On March 3, gunman attacked Sri Lanka's cricket team as it traveled by bus in Lahore, Pakistan. Six police officers were killed and seven team members injured.
Since the attack, several events have been pulled from Pakistan, including a junior tennis tournament that had been scheduled for Karachi.
Pakistan Tennis Federation secretary Rashid Khan said Wednesday the series should be held in a third country.
"If they think that the security situation is not ideal here, then the tie should be organized at a neutral venue," Khan said. "If the security is not good in Pakistan, we don't think that the [security] situation is too good in the Philippines."