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February 8, 2018

Hameed gives credit to PTF chief

Sports

February 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Victorious Davis Cup team’s non-playing captain Hameedul Haq attributed the country’s recent wave of success to the untiring efforts of Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan.

Talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday, Hameed — who helped Pakistan blank powerful South Korea 4-0 in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie — said the players had given their hundred percent knowing that they had the support of the federation and its president.

“You can’t earn laurels at international level unless and until you have a leader who is sincere and has the ability to work for the game’s uplift and welfare of players. We are really lucky to have Salim Saifullah as PTF president. Tennis’ standard in Pakistan has improved by leaps and bounds in the last three years.”

The non-playing captain said Pakistan have won a Group I tie after a lapse of 13 years. “Despite having aging players who have been serving Pakistan tennis for the last two decades, we have kept our team amongst the best in Asia.”

“It is the untiring efforts of Salim Saifullah that international tennis is back in the country in a big way. The Davis Cup is here and so are international Futures events. Pakistan Insha Allah will continue to host major international events in future. Our players got tuned up because of these international events,” Hameed said.

Hameed, the recipient of the ITF Davis Cup Commitment Award, said having grass courts in Islamabad had always been a difficult task. “No grass court expert of Lahore and Karachi was ready to buy the idea of establishing such courts in Islamabad. It was due to the personal interest of the PTF president that quality grass courts were established at the Pakistan Sports Complex vicinity.”

He believed that the contributions of Aqeel Khan and Aisamul Haq for the country’s tennis had been unprecedented. “Both are legends of the game and need support from the government and multi-national companies.”

Hameed appealed to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to personally invite the Davis Cup winning team and announce some rewards for them. “Winning against the best Asian team is not a small achievement. They need recognition.”

The former Pakistan No 1 hoped that the duo would also give their best against Uzbekistan. “Pakistan have a chance against Uzbekistan. The way Aqeel and Aisam played against Korea, I am hopeful the same exhibition of tennis can win us the Uzbek tie.”