Pakistan tennis players suffered a blow when they were forced to pull out of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures event in India due to non-issuance of visas in time.
Earlier, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) had decided that the top five players - Aqeel Khan, Jalil Khan, Yasir Khan, Heera Ashiq and Samir Iftikhar - will be participating in four ITF Futures tournaments in Indore and Chandigarh from May 18. However, all the players have withdrawn from the event.
“This is the first time ever that the PTF didn’t help us with the visas,” Jalil told The Express Tribune before confirming that all participants had applied for their visas individually and were told that they will receive them in a month.
“By the time we get the visas, the tournaments would have finished. Withdrawing from these events is disappointing because we don’t get to go abroad and gain experience.”
However, PTF Secretary Mumtaz Yousuf has said that the players should not be disappointed as the federation is doing its best to ensure good opportunities for them. He also pointed out that the PTF is sending Aqeel to the US for a month’s training before their Davis Cup ties against Singapore in July.
“Aqeel will train in the US and also participate in local tournaments over there in order to gain more confidence before the Davis Cup ties,” said Yousuf. “He’s been our number one domestic player and he deserves to get better opportunities.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2011.