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India to host Italy on grass in Kolkata

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

will host on grass in the Qualifiers for the Finals at in on February 1-2, the national federation said Tuesday.

was chosen as the venue only after the All Association (AITA) secured two key exemptions from the International Federation (ITF).

The rules require that World Group and Play-off ties be played at a venue where the space behind the baseline is 27 feet and there is a seating capacity of 4000.

Only DLTA and the centre court at MSLTA fulfil the two requirements but they do not have grass courts.

Non-playing was keen to play on grass, considering that Italians are solid hard court players.

"We had written to ITF, asking for these exemptions because we wanted to play on grass. courts have space of 21 feet behind the baseline and we can create stands to accommodate up to 3000 fans. ITF agreed on this," AITA told

"We had also asked for change in dates but they did not agree on that. We wanted the tie on Saturday and Sunday as against Friday and Saturday," Chatterjee added.

The last time hosted a tie on grass was in 2016 when India played Korea in Chandigarh.

Bhupathi lauded the AITA for making the effort in convincing the ITF to relax the rules.

"This is what we wanted as a group. We feel our best chance of beating is on grass, so we are glad that AITA made it happen. Now we need to make use of this opportunity," Bhupathi, the winner of multiple titles, told

"Playing on hard courts would have been suicidal with their six players in top-100. We have to disrupt them and playing on grass in hard court season will disrupt their plans. We believe we have a chance," Bhupathi added.

Asked if veteran will be considered for the tie, given his skill set on grass, Bhupathi said that was for the selection committee to decide.

"We have six doubles players in the top-100 including Leander and all could be considered."

A total of 24 teams will play in the knockout Qualifiers on February 1 and 2 to decide which 12 teams will play the year-end Finals.

Twelve winners in February will join these six teams for the 18-team Finals in in November 2019.

According to the new format, only four semifinalists from 2018 season along with two wild cards -- and Britain -- have a direct entry.

India lost their World Group Play-off to while Italy lost their quarterfinal to Since India are ranked 20, they again got a shot at World Group.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 13 2018. 19:55 IST