WELLINGTON, April 6 (Reuters) - 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 (ITF) 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.”
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.
The court also had issues with uneven bounce, while the players were unsure of their footing, Hunt said.
Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan won the first singles rubber against Artem Sitak while Aisam Qureshi was leading Dan King-Turner 3-0 in the third set of the second when the tie was abandoned.
Hunt said the facility at the Pun Hlaing Golf and Country Club had only two grass courts available for the tie, which both teams practised on throughout the week.
”It’s a brave ask for two grass courts to support that all week,“ Hunt said. ”The court was definitely not up to scratch from day one.
“From Myanmar’s point of view they did everything they could and have treated us very well... but I don’t think they really understood what was expected of a court for a Davis Cup match and it was a pretty tough ask for them to come up with it at short notice.”
New Zealand will play the winners of the Thailand-Philippines tie for a place in Group I next year. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ken Ferris)