Tennis: NZ take controversial Davis Cup win

By Dave Worsley

Alistair Hunt is captain of the NZ Davis Cup team.Photo / File
Alistair Hunt is captain of the NZ Davis Cup team.Photo / File

The 2XU New Zealand Davis Cup team has been controversially awarded a victory against Pakistan in its Asia/Oceania Group II second round contest at the neutral venue, Pun Hlaing Golf and Country Club in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma).

During the second match on day one the ITF referee Asitha Attygalla from Sri Lanka called the contest off and gave the result to New Zealand as a result of the court being unplayable.

There was a hole by the baseline which New Zealand team captain, Alistair Hunt said was "about an inch deep and half a foot wide". However there had been other issues with the grass courts and difficult bounces as well as unreliable footing throughout the week.

For Hunt and the team the situation is unusual and quite a challenge in the fact they have won a Davis Cup tie 4-1, but have played only one full match.

"The courts have been a disaster from the start," said Hunt "We've changed each grass court and then there was some word we might change to hard court which the ITF said no to. The referee has made a brave decision. Obviously all the guys wanted to play and you don't want to win this way."

Earlier Artem Sitak had lost the first singles 7-5 3-6 6-2 7-5 to Aqeel Khan in a contest played in extreme heat. Hunt said Sitak struggled to get his footing right for serving where the hole was on the court.

"It definitely effected Artem. It was just behind the baseline and he had to change his footing for his serving. I've never seen anything like this in 25 years of Davis Cup. It was dangerous and someone was going to hurt themselves. We weren't the ones complaining. It was totally the referee's decision."

As for the Kiwis and their remaining days in Myanmar, Hunt says it's just a case of keeping quiet. "It's been a very average week of Davis Cup we're just keeping our heads down. It's not entirely great over here."

The second singles had been fairly close between Dan King-Turner and Asiam Qureshi with the Pakistan player winning the first set 6-3 and then the New Zealander the second 6-3. Qureshi led 3-0 in the third set when the contest was called off.
New Zealand will now take on either Thailand or Philippines in the final of Asia/Oceania Group II in September.

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