We need to bring Davis Cup home, says Aqeel

Pakistan veteran urges PTF to seek approval for hosting the final.

Our Correspondent July 29, 2015
"We’ve urged the PTF to do all it can to host the tie. , the security situation is also not bad as a cricket team [Zimbabwe] visited Lahore this year," Pakistan number one Aqeel Khan. PHOTO: APP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s most seasoned player Aqeel Khan believes the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) needs to make a more valiant effort in convincing the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to let the Davis Cup Asian-Oceania Zone Group II tie take place in Pakistan.

Aqeel, who also received a cash reward from the PTF earlier this week worth $2,000, said that the tennis fans in the country need to see the team compete in the event in order to appreciate the local players.

Pakistan won their semi-final tie 3-1 against Indonesia in Jakarta earlier this month, and Aqeel believes that getting a chance to play the final against Chinese Taipei at their home ground will improve the team’s prospects of winning.

“Surely now we need to work towards bringing international tennis back to Pakistan,” Aqeel told The Express Tribune. “We can win against Chinese Taipei; there is a 60 to 70 per cent chance if we play it on grasscourts at home.”

Aqeel added that the last tie Pakistan played at home was in 2005 against Chinese Taipei. “It’s been a decade now, we’ve urged the PTF to do all it can to host the tie. The security situation is also not bad, as a cricket team [Zimbabwe] visited Lahore this year. The ITF needs to consider that Pakistan tennis has been suffering due to a lack of international play in the country.”

The remaining squad including non-playing captain Hamidul Haq, Samir Iftikhar and Abid Ali Akbar received $1,000 from the PTF.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th,  2015.

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