KARACHI: Women’s tennis can only flourish in Pakistan if girls are introduced to the sport at school and university level, according to Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) Secretary Khalid Rehmani.
Rehmani further added that the goal for the year is to expose at least 2,000 girls from across Pakistan to tennis, while the PTF would try to open more tennis courts in the country.
“We are going to take the sport to schools first and we’ve done this in Peshawar, while Karachi’s Khatoone Pakistan girls’ school has also given us great results in the Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) programme,” said Rehmani.
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He also rued Pakistan’s poor performance in the Fed Cup, where Pakistan finished ninth in the tournament. “Pakistan’s performance at the Fed Cup has been very poor. We fell behind in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group II and finished ninth out of 11 teams in the competition,” said Rehmani.
Rehmani further stated that the reason women’s tennis is not progressing in the country is because young girls are not exposed to the sport.
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“We can’t even get eight players to report to the camp,” said Rehmani. “Girls in the country are afraid to take up the sport because of external pressures but even those who want to cannot because they are not exposed to it that much.”
Rehmani also announced that the PTF intends to increase the number of tennis courts in the country and employ coaches, both foreign and local, to help improve the technique of the players.
“We want to have more tennis facilities. We’ll be following the examples of Thailand and Sri Lanka where the JTI is the most successful campaign in producing good players,” said Rehmani.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2016.
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