KARACHI: The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) will be holding trials next month to finalise the Davis Cup team that will play against Iran in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group II tie in Islamabad on February 3, revealed PTF Secretary Khalid Rehmani.
The trials would take place between the country’s top six players and the best two would be selected to join Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan in the contest.
“We decided about the trials at a PTF general meeting three months ago as we want to select local players to represent Pakistan in the Davis Cup,” Rehmani told The Express Tribune. “Last time we flew in Samir Iftikhar and Abid Ali Akbar from the US to represent Pakistan against New Zealand. We lost that tie 5-0 and got relegated. This time we are planning to have the best local players join us.”
ITF upholds decision to host tie in Pakistan
Rehmani also said that the PTF is looking to groom young players to carry the mantle for Pakistan in the future after Aisam and Aqeel decide to call it quits.
“Aqeel and Aisam carry the team but we really need good players to replace them in the long run now that we are able to hold ties at home,” he said.
First women’s tennis coach in the offing?
Among the six players to feature in the trials is 17-year-old Muzammil Murtaza, a Jehanian-based teenager who made it to the final of the Serena Hotels Asian Tour only to lose to Aqeel after a spirited showing. And Rehmani is extremely impressed with the progress made by the teenager.
“Murtaza’s recent performances have been really impressive. Even though he is an U18 player, he would still be called up for the trials. We really want to groom him into a star,” said Rehmani.
The PTF is also making efforts to generate interest in the sport by incentivising the players with huge cash awards for the winners.
“Till 2014 there was only one tournament in Peshawar that would offer a healthy prize-money and players would try to compete in it. Now we have 11 of these tournaments,” said Rehmani before revealing that the federation is in talks with PTV to broadcast the tie.
Return of Davis Cup tennis tie
“We are in talks with PTV to broadcast the tie. For now we are busy preparing the venue at the Pakistan Sports Board. It is crucial to put up a good show; after all it’s been very long since we hosted the Davis Cup and we want to make a good impression,” said Rehmani.
Courtesy : Express Tribune