In an attempt to promote tennis at the grass-roots level, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) will hold an open camp in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
The camp launches in Karachi from the first week of September with Pakistan number one Aqeel Khan and his brother Jalil Khan, among other coaches, supervising the attendees.
“We have decided to hold these camps at different tennis clubs in the cities,” PTF acting president Irshad Bhatti told The Express Tribune. “We are organising this programme first in Karachi and Aqeel will be the one supervising it. The PTF has taken this initiative to attract and inspire more players towards the sport.”
Aqeel has praised PTF’s efforts and said that the duration of the camp should be at least 10 days. However, the country’s top player said that despite being talented, many players quit playing tennis because of lack of encouragement.
“I’ve seen a good number of talented players who don’t continue with tennis,” said Aqeel. “Karachi is gifted but players tend to quit while pursuing other professions. At the moment, most of the top junior players are from Lahore and Islamabad.”
Aqeel claimed that in Karachi, the junior players were not keen on pursuing a career in tennis after a lack of encouragement from their parents. “They don’t even travel to Islamabad or Lahore for tournaments because they are content with the events in Karachi and then give up the sport all together.”
However, Aqeel said that the PTF will need to continue with its efforts in order to draw players from Karachi. He said that the quality of players in the city has improved and these can represent Pakistan at international events.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.