Davis Cup 2024 Rival Watch: India to face Pakistan in World Group I tie
(Courtesy : X)
India last played Davis Cup match against Pakistan in 2019
The Davis Cup 2024 World Group I and II playoffs were drawn in September 2023 in London by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Forty-eight nations will compete in 24 ties for a spot in the World Group 1 and World Group 2, which will take place in September 2024.
India will face Pakistan in their World Group I play-off tie on 3-4 February 2024 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Pakistan Sports Complex will host the tie on grass courts. The last time the two countries met in the Davis Cup was in 2019 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. India won the tie 4-0.
India has reached the final of the Davis Cup three times, in 1966, 1974, and 1987, but never won the title. Pakistan’s best result was reaching the World Group play-offs in 2005.
Pakistan played host to Indonesia in the 2023 Davis Cup World Group II tie, winning 5-0 against the South-East Asian team. hosts Pakistan have yet to move past the World Group I stage in any of their three appearances since 2021. In their upcoming tie against India, the Pakistani squad face an uphill battle to proceed to the World Group stage. India has maintained an unbeaten seven-win streak against their Asian neighbors since they first played in 1962.
Veteran Pakistani player Aisam Qureshi, with a doubles ranking of 154, will be his country’s main hope. The squad’s other members are Aqeel Khan, Muzammil Murtaza, Muhammad Shuaib, and Barkat Ullah.
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As a former top player who ruled the national tennis circuit in the 1980s and 1990s, Rashid Malik is now the coach of Pakistan’s Davis Cup team. He has a wealth of experience, having played 24 Davis Cup ties for his country and winning 18 of them. He will lead and mentor the Pakistani team, who will try their best to overcome their neighbours India in the competition.
Players to watch
Aisam Qureshi is ranked World No. 154 and is the top player in the Pakistani contingent. In 2011, he reached a career-high ranking of World No. 8 in doubles. Qureshi has a win-loss record of 70-33 in the Davis Cup competition and, with Aqeel Khan, is Pakistan’s most successful doubles team with a win-loss record of 26-10. Qureshi has a good record playing on grass in the Davis Cup, winning nineteen of the twenty-eight matches he played on the surface.
Aqeel Khan is another player who has been a steady presence in the Pakistani Davis Cup squad, having played on 57 occasions over 24 years. While Khan’s win-loss record at 62-59 may not be as impressive as Qureshi’s, he is 19-9 on grass – the surface for the upcoming tie against India.
What to expect
India, ranked 39th in the Davis Cup, will have a psychological advantage over Pakistan, who are ranked 45th, in the upcoming tie. Ramkumar Ramanathan, who was part of the Indian team that beat Pakistan in the Asia Oceania Group I tie in Kazakhstan four years ago, will lead India’s charge. He will be supported by Sriram Balaji and Saketh Myneni, who are ranked 78th and 104th in doubles, respectively.
However, India will miss the services of Rohan Bopanna, who retired after the Davis Cup tie against Morocco in 2023, and Sumit Nagal, who reached the main draw of the 2024 Australian Open. Their absence, coupled with the experience and skill of Pakistan’s top two players – Aisam Qureshi and Aqeel Khan, makes the contest a nail-biter.
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