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August 8, 2017

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Pakistan unlikely to host ATT events this year

KARACHI: Pakistan is not likely to host any Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) event this year due to negative response from foreign players last year.

“Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) hosted four ATT events, each carrying prize purse of $5000 but it got discouraged because not a single foreign player bothered to come to Pakistan in those events,” said a source.

The source added that PTF was not happy with the poor response as not even Asian players came to participate in them. “This was enough since PTF had gathered big sponsors for those events. So it is very likely that it may not host any ATT event this year,” added the source.

But an official of PTF said that it would host ATT events, though of lower prize money. “PTF is surely going to host one or two such events. It may host events carrying prize purse of $3000,” said the official.

The source added that so far only Islamabad Tennis Association has offered PTF to host one $3000 ATT event along with small national level events but PTF has not approved its request.

Pakistan last year hosted Federal Cup ATT Tennis Championships and Syed Tajammul Abbas Memorial ATT in October; and Serena Open Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) and Asian Tennis Tour Kulsum Saifullah Khan Memorial in December.

The source said that PTF did not get support from Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) president Anil Khanna who during his visit to Islamabad had stated that ATF would support Pakistan with regard to participation of Asian players in ATT events.

“Foreign participation is always a problem in Pakistan, no matter how big the event is and how high the prize money is. The negative image Pakistan carries doesn’t let even Asian players come here,” said the source.

Recently two under-14 international events sanctioned by ATF were held in Karachi and a few foreign female players did not come after entering their names. “The sponsors were disappointed. Though we offered many facilities, foreign players did not bother to participate,” said the organiser.

He said they offered facilities to local players, doubled their traveling allowance, provided decent accommodation, did free registration at ATF for these events, and paid participation fee for those who couldn’t afford. “The only benefit we got was that our under-14 players earned valuable points and now they can have some facilities in international events like free accommodation,” said the organiser.

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