LAHORE: All leading players of the country, including Aisam-ul-Haq and Aqeel Khan, are featuring in the EBM Pakistan Open Tennis Championships starting here on Monday at the Punjab Lawn Tennis Association (PLTA) grass courts in Bagh-i-Jinnah.

The qualifying round in different categories will be played on Sunday while the main round starts the next day.

Unfolding the details of the event, secretary PLTA and former Davis Cup representative Rashid Malik said that all probables who could represent the country in the important Davis Cup clash against India later this month — including Aisam and Aqeel — would be appearing in the tournament.

He said the event would help the expected Davis Cup squad a golden opportunity to gain match practice before the India matches since they were out of action for the last few months.

Rashid said soon after the event, the Pakistan Open Tennis Championship would also be held at the same venue from Nov 22, as the Davis Cup probables would get another appropriate chance.

Rashid said the PLTA for the last eight years had been focusing at the grassroots level and with the blessing of Almighty Allah, big base of junior players at the ages of 6, 8, 10 and 12 are available with the PLTA. He said the competitions in those age categories would also be held in the back-to-back events of the PLTA. Rashid said though a fair number teenager are showing interest in the sport for the last couple of years.

The main draw features 64 males 32 females draws and overall 250 players in all age categories would vie for the top honours. A total cash prize of Rs 700,000 will be at the stake for the first tournament with sum of money would be put for the second one.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019