KARACHI: Khwaja Saeed Hai, a former tennis legend of Pakistan and patron of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), passed away here on Wednesday after a protracted illness. He was 91.
Born in British India in 1930, Saeed Hai studied at the Aligarh Muslim University where he honed his skills in the sport. He was a former Pakistan number one tennis player and the first Pakistani to reach the main draws of a Grand Slam — Wimbledon Championships — in 1955 and 1956 through qualifying matches. At Wimbledon, he appeared in the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
In an outstanding career, Saeed Hai captained Pakistan’s Davis Cup team as many as 32 times and also reached the second round of the French Open and played in the US Open in 1964.
When the French Tennis Federation celebrated 100 years of the French Championship at Roland Garros, they built a commemorative wall displaying the names of players who had done outstandingly during the championship which included Saeed Hai’s name.
He was also the founding president of the International Club, whose head office is in England. Membership in the club is only open for Grand Slam and Davis Cup players.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) awarded him with a gold medal at their annual general meeting held in Lausnne before 300 delegates from 198 affiliated associations of ITF including Pakistan.
Condolences poured in from all over the veteran player. PTF president Salim Saifullah Khan, EC and the tennis fraternity extend their heartfelt condolences to Saeed Hai’s family on Wednesday while NBP president Arif Usmani also condoled the sad demise.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2021