Security fears force Davis Cup out of Pakistan

WELLINGTON: The International Tennis Federation has moved Pakistan''s next Davis Cup match to New Zealand due to security reasons.

The Davis Cup committee of the ITF informed both nations Tuesday that the Asia-Oceania Group II semifinal will be played in New Zealand from July 9-11 rather than in Pakistan or at a neutral venue.

"Due to the existing security concerns that continue to surround the hosting of sporting events in Pakistan, the Davis Cup committee met last week to review the situation, deciding on this occasion to reverse the choice of ground for this tie, resulting in New Zealand now having choice of ground," the ITF said in a statement.

New Zealand had previously written to the ITF expressing its reluctance to play in Pakistan and asking for an alternative venue. Pakistan initially insisted on hosting the match, suggesting New Zealand either travel to play or forfeit, but two suicide bomb blasts in Lahore last Friday, which killed 55 people, led to a softening its stance.

"A lot of our players had expressed concerns and did not want to travel to Pakistan," Tennis New Zealand operations manger Tracy Hall said. "Security concerns were an issue going over there so we are glad with the decision to have it hosted in New Zealand."

New Zealand has yet to decide on a venue or surface for the tie.

Pakistan had also been scheduled to host its first-round match against Hong Kong but that was moved to Hong Kong, also for security reasons.