Davis Cup: AITA asks players to apply for Pakistan visas

India's non-playing Captain Mahesh Bhupathi reacts during the Davis Cup tie against Italy. Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has directed its players, officials and staff bound for the Davis Cup tie next month to apply for Pakistan visas following a meeting of the body in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The AITA, however, is waiting for the ITF to revert with its final decision on the venue of the tie which is expected on or before November 4. Originally scheduled for September 14 and 15 in Islamabad, the tie was postponed to November 29 and 30 following an ITF security review.

Non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi, who also attended Tuesday's meeting, has expressed his apprehensions over traveling to Pakistan following the worsening of diplomatic relations after Article 370, which grants special status to Kashmir, was revoked. It is understood that the AITA is counting on the ITF - who in turn are waiting for security agencies monitoring the situation in Pakistan to submit their report - for the tie to be shifted to a neutral venue.

If ITF do choose to stick to Pakistan as the playing venue, AITA then will have to pick between forfeiture, a hefty fine and relegation, and perhaps sending a second-string team. It is understood that while few players, much like Bhupathi, are not open to the idea of traveling to Pakistan, some others could be willing to do so.

India's only singles player currently ranked inside the top 100, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, is likely to be excused from playing the tie since he is getting married on November 29. In the instance the tie is eventually played, India are expected to beat Pakistan comfortably and make next year's Qualifiers.