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Aisam upbeat as Pakistan host Thailand

Updated September 13, 2017


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan tennis veteran’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi eagerly looked forward to more success on the court as they face the Thai duo of Sonchat Ratiwatana and Sanchai Ratiwatana in the Davis Cup Asia Oceana Group II final which is set to kick off on Friday.

The four-member Pakistani team is comprised of Aisam, Aqeel, Abid Muhstaq and Shehzad Khan.

“The finals are going to be a tough challenge, our key is our 15-year experience,” Aisam told a press conference here on Tuesday.

While the 37-year-old is driven by confidence in his experience, the young Ratiwatana brothers, who are known for their prowess in the doubles category, are expected to give the hosts tough time with their speed.

Aisam too has an impressive doubles record being a former US Open finalist and has been regularly participating in doubles in the international circuit.

The veteran, however, was wary of Thailand’s qualities and rated them one of the toughest teams in continent in both the singles and doubles category.Wishaya Trongch­aro­enchaikul, Jirat Navasi­risom­boon, and Kittiphong Wachir­a­man­owong along with their non-playing campaign Vittaya Samrej are the other members of the Thai squad.

“It’s going to tough fight but we are going to win it,” said Samrej.

The event is a major boost for Pakistan tennis after the Hong Kong team refused to visit the country for the second round tie of the Davis Cup citing security dangers.

Aisam said World XI cricket tour of Pakistan is a positive sign and is an evidence of an improved security condition in the country.

However, the Davis Cup tie is not open for public as only invited spectators are allowed to watch their players in action on home soil.

Aisam hoped the International Tennis Federation (ITF) will allow the public to back the players in the courts when the next edition of the tournament takes place.

Aqeel also felt the limited crowds will play as a slight disadvantage for the home team but will definitely won’t effect the players’ confidence.

“The home courts give advantage to us, and same time, there is little bit disadvantage, but I don’t believe in disadvantages, there was pressure on us against Iran, but we won, this time too, we will win,” Aqeel told Dawn.

On Friday, two singles will be played followed by a doubles on Saturday and two reverse singles on Sunday.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017