ISLAMABAD - Pakistan tennis ace Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi has vowed that he and Aqeel would once again help the country win the tough Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group-I tie against South Korea to be played on February 2 and 3.

Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, Aisam said that although the tie would be very tough and challenging, as South Korea has top ranked and seasoned players yet he along with Aqeel would try their best to help the country win the tough tie against South Koreans.

“I have joined the team three days back and completed three training sessions with the players. Obviously, we will be under huge pressure, as Koreans have brought their best, so it would be another tough battle for us. Off course, I am bit shocked and surprised that M Abid and Shahzad Khan are not in the team, but they are also at fault, as they were informed about the trials to be held on January 26. I thought that they were not aware about the trials; therefore, they couldn’t appear. For me, the federation has taken a tough stance, as I feel they should have played the trial matches.”

He said but federation should have included the fifth player, as according to new ITF rules. “Now being the host nation, it would have not taken any extra expenditure to opt the fifth player. It is a very competitive and tough tie but I am hopeful, like in the past, both Aqeel and I would be able to intact our record of helping Pakistan win the tie and remain unbeaten in the doubles on home soil.”

Aisam said he personally felt that Shahzad and Abid were quite good, but off course, they were at fault by refusing to feature in trial matches. They should have appeared and book their places, while Abid Ali Akbar is also not new to this format, who already had represented the country in the Davis Cup ties and could help Pakistan, if selected to play by the captain.

“Muzammil Murtaza is a young lad and it would be a great opportunity for him to play against world best players, but simultaneously, there would be huge pressure on Muzammil, as playing at national level is different than playing against top ranked players. So the entire responsibility would be upon Aqeel and I to shoulder the lime share of pressure and help Pakistan produce wonders. “I am quite hopeful that vast experience of Aqeel and I would be the key for our progress. The Koreans have come earlier and they are training hard. The grass courts suit our style of play and we have home advantage as well,” he added.

“I hope tennis lovers will come in numbers like past and buck up their heroes as it motivates us and put extra pressure on the opponents. Once again, I would try my best to help Pakistan, like I did in the past as I am enjoying good run at international level and hopefully, Aqeel and I will once again live up to the expectations of the millions of Pakistanis,” Aisam concluded.

It is pertinent to mention here that there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan in any sports and in tennis too, the country has immense amount of talent, which needed to be hunt, trained, groomed and prepared for international events. It is Pakistan Tennis Federation’s fault which couldn’t find out the replacements of aging Aisam and Aqeel yet, and they, like always, have to rely on solely these two greats.

To complete the Davis Cup team, the PTF often calls those tennis players, who reside abroad, train and play there. But last year, the PTF decided to include only those players in the team, who would appear in the trials. At one hand, it is a good stance as it will not only create competitive and healthy atmosphere and provide equal chances to local and emerging players, but on the other hand, when the local players are selected, they completely flop against international players, because of having no international experience. So it is the PTF, which must devise the better plan and strategy, which may prove helpful to make the best team combination rather than putting pressure solely on Aisam and Aqeel.