ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has suffered a huge setback ahead of its Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-I tie against Uzbekistan as Aqeel Khan’s chances of recovering from a wrist injury in time look highly bleak. The tie would be held on April 6 and 7.

Talking to The Nation on Wednesday, Pakistan’s longest serving number 1 tennis player Aqeel said that he has been undergoing treatment for wrist injury for the last three weeks and doctor has told him to undergo treatment for further 6 to 8 weeks.

“I was under too much pain just before the Davis Cup tie against South Korean tie and my wrist and right shoulder pain was impossible to bear. But I somehow gambled with my health and career and kept on training. I took pain injections and played throughout the event with feeling and by the grace of Almighty and Asiam’s exceptional performance Pakistan had managed to beat mighty Koreans.”

He said the doctor has advised him to give complete rest to his wrist and has barred him even from practice and training. He thanked Pakistan Tennis Federation president Salim Saifullah Khan for bearing all my expenses being incurred on his treatment. He said he was undergoing through therapy and still feeling a lot of pain in his wrist and that’s why he has to miss the JCSC Open Tennis Championship.

“At present things are not looking good for me. Now at this stage of life and at my age, I can’t afford adventurism like taking gamble with my injury as it would not only end my playing but also would jeopardise my future ambition of becoming a coaching future. I have always played for country putting my personal interests aside. I took huge risks and played while not even 50 percent fit in past too on number of occasions. But from now on, I have to ensure that I am fully fit and completely free from injury before making any commitment. At present chances are highly grim for me to play the next Davis Cup tie. I know it is very tough and highly competitive encounter and we are highly underdogs even if I am in the team while entire pressure and hopes of the country would solely rest on Aisam’s shoulders in case.”

When asked about whether he is happy that Inter Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Pirzada had informed PTF president that PM Shahid Khaqan Abbassi has approved cash reward of Rs 2.5 million each for Aqeel and Aisam and Rs 500,000 for other members, who were part of Davis Cup team, who beat Korea, Aqeel said he was not aware of this development. “If it is true, it is a very good initiative as besides cricket other athletes also deserve to get due recognition. This step would go encourage other athletes as well to perform.”

He said he was trying hard to get fit before Davis Cup tie against Uzbeks and asked for prays of all for his early recovery.

“There is still almost a month left. I am fighting hard and hoping to be fit prior to the start of the tie. I request all to pray for my early recovery so I could spearhead challenge along with Aisam and help Pakistan tennis like we did in the past,” Aqeel concluded.