Lahore: A high-powered delegation of the Pakistan Tennis Federation will travel to Beirut next month to ensure that Lebanon does not back out of its commitment to play their Asia-Oceania group Davis Cup tie in Lahore in February next year.

The PTF has decided to send the delegation to Beirut in a bid to outline all arrangements and security plans for the tie that has been scheduled in Pakistan by the International Tennis Federation at its recent executive committee meeting.

An source in the PTF said the decision to send a delegation was taken because in the past also, teams supposed to visit Pakistan have pulled out due to security concerns.

"So this time it is a big time opportunity for us to ensure international tennis returns to Pakistan in February and we want to be sure that Lebanon is on board with us," he said.

In the last five years many teams have refused to tour Pakistan for the Davis Cup ties in Pakistan owing to security concerns forcing the ITF to eventually shift the matches to neutral venues.

Pakistan, in this period, was forced to even play its Davis Cup tie against a friendly country like Oman abroad and the same thing happened to ties against Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand.

If Lebanon does visit Pakistan on schedule it will see the revival of Davis Cup matches in the country after nearly six years.

In 2005, Lahore hosted back-to-back ties against Thailand and Chinese Taipei.

Irshad Bhatti, a senior PTF official, said Pakistan's performance in the Davis Cup had suffered because it had lost home advantage in the tournament in the last few years.

He said Lebanon agreeing to play in Lahore was a huge breakthrough for the revival of international tennis in the country and hinted that Lahore could play host again.

"There is an 80 per cent chance that the match will be hosted in Lahore due to availability of better grass courts. The other venue as part of our plans is Islamabad," he said.

(Agencies)