KARACHI: Sara Mehboob is Pakistan’s youngest national champion. She is also Pakistan’s topranked female player since 2005, a period longer than what Roger Federer held his number one status for.
Her father promised her attention and consideration if she were to reach the summit. Sadly, five years after making that place her own, she is yet to witness that verbally or financially. After claiming 55 titles nationally, and reaching various semi-finals and finals of international junior tournaments, Sarah turned professional and now wants to take part in the $10,000 ITF Women’s Future tournament. But it’s not the nervousness or fear that is holding her back. It is the lack of finances.
The hidden treasure In her debut 2008 ITF Women Future event in Islamabad, she was the sole Pakistani girl progressing to the quarter-final stage. Talent notwithstanding, finances have always been an obstacle for Sarah which she believes has hampered her international ranking and her. “Sarah’s current ranking is nothing,” said the Pakistan Tennis Federation President Dilawar Abbas. “You need to achieve a certain international ranking before you can participate in tournaments like Wimbledon.”
Financial limitations According to Sara’s father, “the government doesn’t do anything for people like Sarah who has won 55 national titles, a record for any teenager in Pakistan.” Sania brings hope “I want to see Sania Mirza and Sarah play an exhibition match in Pakistan” said Abbas. “Sania can be a positive influence.” While the duo await the opportunity, Sarah, despite the obstacles and blunders, has set her eyes firmly on tennis being close to her heart in the coming years. “Ten years from now, I want be someone who’s played the international circuit well and have gotten a respectable international ranking.”