Karachi: Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan said that before the new setup’s tenure would end after four years, Pakistan would at least have four high class international players.
The newly elected President said that the federation will pick top fifty players aged in between fourteen to eighteen years and will organize intensive coaching and training course for them.
“By the time our tenure comes to an end after four years, I expect we would have at least twenty national level players and four to five players playing internationally from the lot we will prepare,” Salim told reporters here at Karachi Gymkhana on Monday.
He said that the top players right now playing for Pakistan are Aisam-ul-Haq Quereshi and Aqeel Khan, both of who would soon be old enough not to be able to perform well in competitive tennis at international arena.
“We may not have them (Aisam and Aqeel) for Davis Cup in 2016 or 2017. So we must prepare their replacements soon,” he said.
He added that PTF would also try to promote tennis at school and college as a good game in tennis could help students get scholarships at top universities like Stanford University in US.
“I would ask HEC to help us promote the game of tennis among students. Universities abroad give scholarships to good tennis players,” he stressed.
He added that the first tournament the newly elected PTF setup would organize will be her mother’s memorial tournament. “We will organize the inaugural Begum Kulsoom Memorial National Tennis Championship from January 3-10 at PTF Complex in Islamabad, in which top national players will compete”.
He further said that he tried his level best to convince International Tennis Federation (ITF) his Kuwaiti counterparts to let Pakistan host the Davis Cup tie in Pakistan against Kuwait.
“But few days after I had written to ITF, the unfortunate and barbaric attack on Peshawar school took place. ITF soon wrote back to us that it cannot risk the safety of players in Pakistan. So now the Davis Cup tie would be held in Sri Lanka. The venue has been chosen by our players,” he said.
He added he would also try to have long serving PTF official and former top national player Saeed Hai to awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his services to tennis in Pakistan.
PTF Senior Vice President Saeed Hai and Secretary Khalid Rehmani were also present on the occasion.
Saeed Hai welcomed the new president in Karachi and hoped that he would use his connections to lift the game of tennis in the country.
“Salim has taken over PTF with a sole purpose to serve the game. He doesn’t need anything from the sports as President as whatever the post offers, Salim already possesses that,” Saeed, a former Pakistan No 1 tennis player, said.