India’s Davis Cup tie against Finland was on Friday postponed to 2021 as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) pushed back all the matches, including the Finals in Madrid, to next year owing to COVID-19 pandemic.Also Read - Tennis: Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty Named ITF World Champions
India were scheduled to travel to Finland for the World Group I tie in September but now the tie will be played either in March or September next year. Also Read - AITA Begins Process To Identify Venue For Davis Cup Tie Against Denmark
The ITF’s decision has come days after four of world’s leading tennis players, including number one Novak Djokovic, tested positive for the dreaded virus following their participation in exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia. Also Read - Australia Face Davis Cup Elimination Despite 2-1 Win Over Hungary
“The decision to postpone the event comes following a three-month review of the considerable logistical and regulatory challenges that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and all potential hosting scenarios with the health and safety of all involved of paramount importance,” ITF said in a statement.
The 18 teams for the Madrid Finals will compete at the rescheduled Finals in 2021, with the draw for the Finals remaining as published.
“The ITF Board has announced that the 24 home-and-away World Group I and World Group II ties involving 48 national teams due to be played in September this year will be postponed until 2021, with ties to be played in either March or September.”
The pandemic has halted ATP and WTA tours and Wimbledon, the oldest Grand Slam event, was cancelled for the first time since World War II.
India had lost 1-3 to Croatia in the Davis Cup Qualifiers while Finland had beaten Mexico 3-2 in World Group Play-Offs.
It is an easy draw for India as none of the singles players of Finland features in top-100. Emil Ruusuvuori, ranked 101, is their best player while others are not even in top-400.
“It’s a sensible and expected decision.There is uncertainty regarding international travel. Given the circumstances, it is on expected lines. But at the same time, tennis really needs some start. It’s difficult to say anything,” India’s Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali said.