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ISLAMABAD: Seasoned campaigner Aqeel Khan says if Pakistan manage to defeat a strong-looking Uzbekistan in their Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I second round, the next round will be his last Davis Cup tie.

“It is my strong desire that we defeat Uzbekistan to qualify for the World Group playoff after 13 years [last time Pakistan featured in the World Group playoff in 2005]. I can continue to play hardly for one more year. Therefore, I wish I could compete in the World Group playoff before my retirement,” the 38-year-old Aqeel told Dawn on Wednesday.

Pakistan take on Uzbekistan here on Pakistan Sports Complex grass court on Friday.

Uzbekistan’s squad, on paper, appear relatively far better than Pakistan.

The tourists have former world No.33 Denis Istomin (presently world No.83) in their ranks besides having other players who can pose a serious challenge to Pakistan in their Davis Cup clash.

However, Aqeel said that he with support from ace player Aisam-ul-Haq will go all out to win this tie. “Our tie against Uzbekistan is very tough no doubt but we will put in our best show to come out winners,” he vowed.

“The real difference between both the teams could be Istomin.”

Besides, Aqeel and Aisam, Shahzad Khan and youngsters Hira Ashiq and Muzammil Murtaza will also bee seen in action in the two-day tie.

“Local fans and home courts play an important role [in tennis] so we will try to take full advantage of this and will play with a proper plan,” he said, adding his team’s morale is as high as it was during Pakistan’s last tie against South Korea who were beaten by the former.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2018