ISLAMABAD- Pakistan’s longest serving No 1 tennis player Aqeel Khan has no plans of retirement in near future and wants to continue to serve the country in the years to come. 

In an exclusive interview with The Nation on Monday, Aqeel said: “I am super fit at the age of 33 and I feel I can play for at least three to four years and especially in the Davis Cup ties. It is very important for every country to field a strong side in the Davis Cup matches as top professionals love to represent their respective countries in Davis Cup ties.

“I want to serve the future generation and want to remain in Pakistan even after my retirement. I had appealed to former Sindh Sports Minister late Dr M Ali Shah to provide me piece of land where I might construct a modern fully equipped tennis academy and had also meetings with him five or six times in this regard. Dr Shah had strongly recommended to the concerned department to allocate a piece of land for this purpose, but after his sad demise, I have still been waiting for positive response from the Sindh government,” he added.

Aqeel said if a land could be allocated in Islamabad he would construct an international standard academy in the capital. “I have no problem in settling down in Islamabad and want to serve the country and teach the new generation those techniques which I have learnt at a very late stage.”

He said if no one listened to his request then with a very heavy heart, he had to utilize all his available options and one of them could be to accept foreign coaching offer, but it would be last option that he would apply.

To a query regarding accepting the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTA) offer regarding coaching the youngsters, Aqeel replied: “Of course, I will accept the offer but if it will be on merit and keeping in mind my services for the country. If the PTF will offer me respectable offer, there will be no problem for me to accept the offer.”

Aqeel said after giving all to the country and serving Pakistan for more than 16 years, no one from the government or private sector bothered to announce even a five marla plot for him. “I have not my own house or any plot whatsoever. I deserve to be better treated by well to dos.”

To another query, he said: “Ali Akbar, M Abid and other youngsters are making waves. Any one of them can easily claim No 1 spot, but they will be judged by their Davis Cup performances and how they play in the pressure games.”

Commenting on female tennis, Aqeel said: “The girls have to go a long way as they are lagging far behind as far as international standards are concerned. Mahin Aftab is the most promising future international medal hope while other players like Mahin Dada and Imaan Qureshi are also very good. They need proper and regular events to excel at national and international circuits.”