KARACHI: Pakistan’s most decorated Davis Cup player Aqeel Khan is confident of Pakistan’s chances in the Asia-Oceania Group II round-two tie against Indonesia, which will start on July 14 at the Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Stadium in Jakarta.
Aqeel has played 43 Davis Cup ties to date and remains Pakistan’s key player along with Aisamul Haq Qureshi — the two players were involved in the country’s first-round 3-2 win over Kuwait in March.
“Although Indonesia will be a tough team to beat, we can definitely pose a tough challenge for them,” the Karachi-based athlete told The Express Tribune. “I have a good feeling that we can win this tie. We’ll be going forward with our best game.”
The 35-year-old said he started training for the tie last month. “I began preparing for the Davis Cup a month ago,” he said. “It would’ve been tough to keep up with the same training schedule in Karachi due to the weather, but I will be going back to Islamabad to train and condition myself before we leave for Indonesia.”
Aqeel said that he has faith in the team’s skills but fears that weather conditions in Jakarta will still be their biggest adversary. “I do think that we’ll be battling against the hot and humid weather in Jakarta. That will be tricky because it will be a hardcourt and it can be an exhausting surface when weather conditions are not favourable; even the best of players struggle.”
When asked if the change in schedule will affect their performance, the athlete responded positively and said it just meant they would be free on Eid.
The Indonesian Tennis Federation had requested a shift in dates from July 17-19 as they were having trouble holding the tie on Eid.
The two sides have previously met thrice, with Indonesia leading the head-to-head record 2-1. Pakistan won their last meeting 4-1 back in 1984 in Rawalpindi.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2015.
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