Pakistan’s women tennis players rued lack of international exposure as they returned from Kazakhstan after defeat in the Fed Cup.
The four-member squad, accompanied by their team captain Nosheen Ehtesham – who did not play – participated in the Asia-Oceania zone group II matches in Astana, where it was placed in pool B along with Iran, Philippines, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia.
The team won only one match against Iran 3-0, while it was outclassed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia with identical scores of 3-0 in all three matches. The only other competitive game it played was against Kyrgyzstan, which it lost 2-1.
The team consisted of Ushna Suhail, Saba Aziz, Sara Mansoor and Iman Qureshi.
According to Pakistan’s top female player Ushna, who has been the only one in the team playing International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments around the year, the local players need more than just domestic tournaments in order to improve their skills — taking part in the Fed Cup once a year is not enough.
“It was tough, we played against very competitive teams, but that doesn’t mean our players aren’t good enough,” Ushna told The Express Tribune. “I play tournaments because my parents support me and I can go abroad, but everyone doesn’t have that facility. Our players really need some international matches to experience what international tennis is about.”
Meanwhile, Nosheen, who had represented the nation in its first round of Fed Cup matches in 1997, said despite the loss, the players should be appreciated for their efforts.
“You can’t expect these players to progress in the Fed Cup without proper training camps,” said Nosheen. “We just had a camp in Lahore a week before the tournament and that is not enough. However, I’m proud of the girls for their effort.”
Nosheen further pointed out that the revival of women’s tennis would take some time and effort from the federation since nothing has been done for the players on a larger scale.
“The federation only supports these players for the Fed Cup, but that is just a once in a year activity. The parents cannot put in all their money at every tournament that comes up. Steps must be taken.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2013.