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Pakistan on brink of reviving international tennis

PTF offici­al Arif Quresh­i will overlo­ok next month’s senior­s’ events­



KARACHI: One of two International Tennis Federation (ITF) representatives for Pakistan, Arif Qureshi, has pinned his hopes on the successful revival of international tennis in the country next month starting with the seniors’ category.

Qureshi and his colleague Shahzad Alvi at the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) are the only two ITF-certified referees in Pakistan.

Qureshi’s upcoming assignments begin on November 2 with the 23rd Mapal Leaf Pakistan ITF World Ranking Tennis Championship in Lahore followed by the Karachi Club Pakistan ITF World Ranking Tennis Championships from November 21 onwards, which will feature at least eight Indian players.

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“These are two very important and high profile events for the PTF at least,” Qureshi told The Express Tribune. “Even though these are events for seniors, they are crucial for us in the larger scheme of things. Holding these ITF events successfully will send out a strong message to the world and the international body that Pakistan is capable of hosting professional events.”

Next month’s championships, which hold international ranking points, will feature players in the 35, 45, 55, 60 and 65 plus age categories.

Qureshi said that hosting the seniors’ events is easier than getting juniors from abroad, while the ITF will only consider giving Pakistan more professional events based on the feedback at the end of November. “If we are successful in our venture, many players will come to Pakistan to gain ranking points on their own as it is a cheaper venue compared to other countries.”

Pakistan tennis — back from the dead

The official added that the local body was also working towards getting Davis Cup fixtures back to the country by next year. Pakistan have not hosted a Davis Cup tie since 2005, having been forced to play matches either on their opponents’ choice of surface or at neutral venues.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2015.

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