KARACHI: Top seeds Pakistan will be taking on Thailand at the Davis Cup tie next month and the most seasoned player of the squad Aqeel Khan believes that it will be about enjoying the game at home in Islamabad.
The team will be playing the tie from September 15, through the weekend, with the second seeds in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone Group II at the Pakistan Sports Board — Pakistan’s third tie at home.
Earlier, the Davis Cup returned to Pakistan as the country hosted their first tie in 12 years at home in February, which was against Iran.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong chose not to visit Pakistan citing security concerns and the hosts got a bye in the second round, while the final of the group against Thailand is expected to be played on the newly built grass courts at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad.
“It is going to be important for us to enjoy the game,” Aqeel told The Express Tribune, who has represented the country in 48 ties throughout his 20-year career in the Davis Cup. “It’s going to be tough as well because the Thai players are a part of the ATP circuit. They are well groomed, but we are playing at home, so of course the home advantage will give us the edge.”
He added that playing at home will also put the team under pressure to perform better. “There will be a little pressure that the crowd would want us to win, but it will be a good kind of pressure where we’ll want to give our best and it is important that we take this as an opportunity to get through to Group I.”
Aqeel further added that the new courts are nearly good to go. “I think the new courts are almost ready, I saw them three weeks ago, 90% of it is done, so this should not be a problem,” he said.
Aqeel confirmed the participation of another Pakistani tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi in the tie, while the rest of the squad should be decided soon.