ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will take on Thailand in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II final here on Friday (September 15) in the hopes of getting their place back in Group I with a win. The three-day tie will be played at the Pakistan Sports Board Complex on the newly-laid grass courts and non-playing captain Mohammad Khalid believes that Pakistan should keep their record of winning at home intact. “It is going to be a tough tie, there is no doubt about that,” Khalid said Tuesday. “We are well-prepared and we have been training hard. I feel we have the edge because it is our surface. We have great players in Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan and we feel we can win it this time too as we’ve won all our Davis Cup tie at home on grass.” Khalid added that it was a big moment for Pakistan tennis to host the final and the Thai players had been provided with the best security. However, they will be struggling because of their good form on hard court and grass will prove to be difficult for them.
“Thailand are really good professionals but grass is not their biggest strength as there is no bounce on it and they would really struggle on that front,” he added. He also addressed the press conference along with Thai captain Vittaya Samrej at Serena Hotel as well, and Khalid said that the event would be a success as the visitors are comfortable in Islamabad. “We’ll have Aisam and Aqeel, and our goal is to have the lead on day one, it is crucial,” said Khlaid. “We might use the other two players Abid Mushtaq and Shahzad Khan depending on the results of each day.” Meanwhile the draws ceremony will take place on Thursday. Pakistan got the chance to host Davis Cup ties after 12 years as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had kept Pakistan on the list of unsafe venues. Pakistan players were forced to play their ties abroad which resulted in them losing their home advantage.
Published in Daily Times, September 13th 2017.