Young and upcoming tennis sensation M Usman Ejaz Yousaf has earned another honour for the country as he won the bronze medal in ECO International University Games held at Turk Cyprus recently.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation on Thursday, Usman said: “I am training hard under the guidance of the country's best coaches and taking giant strides with each passing day. I am sure I will soon earn a regular place in the Pakistan Davis Cup squad and prove myself as a permanent replacement for Aisam and Aqeel and try to fill their shoes with same stunning performances.”

Usman is currently Pakistan No 4 tennis player and belongs to the backward province of Balochistan where not only tennis facilities are in scarce but in fact, the tennis activities due to law and order situation are suspended for the last many years. But despite all, Usman's determination and passion for the game motivated him to fight against all odds. However, the success has not come his way overnight when he managed to bag bronze medal in the international event.

He has excelled through sheer hard work, which is evident from his performance in the recent years. Having won the Balochistan Men's Championship at the age of 15, he has never looked back and kept on winning numerous national tennis tournaments including U-Fone Junior Tennis U-17 Championship in 2005, CDA Junior U-17 Tennis title in 2006 and Subh-e-Nau National Ranking Tournament in 2006. He was awarded with 1st Balochistan Youth Award in 2008 and has been Balochistan's men's champion for the past several years.  Prior to that, Usman had also won U-14 All Pakistan 502 Workshop Tennis Tournament in 2001, Sirajul Haq Memorial U-17 National Championship in 2002, Federal Cup National Ranking Tournament in 2003 and Arif Habib U-17 Ranking Tennis Championship in 2003.

His excellent performance at the national level earned him a place in the Pakistan Junior Davis Cup team, which participated in the Asia-Oceania group held in Sri Lanka in 2004. He had the best junior international ranking of 632 in 2005 when he defeated Myanamar's No 1 player Nyi Nyi Tun in the junior ITF tournament held in Karachi.

He was also a member of the national universities team which participated in the World Universiade held at Bangkok in 2007 where he was the only Pakistani who earned the distinction of reaching the third round. By virtue of his excellent and matchless performances, Usman was appointed as captain of Pakistan universities team in the ECO International Universities games held at Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and mainly due to his outstanding efforts, Pakistan tennis team managed to win bronze medal.

It is astonishing to note that Usman has not excelled only in sports but his educational career is also remarkable. Having passed his SSC and Intermediate examinations with first division, he graduated in Science from the University of Balochistan. He has also been a brilliant Law student and done LL.B from the Punjab University. Presently, he is doing his MBA. The Educational Institutions were not unaware of his talent in tennis and they utilized his services to the maximum. Usman never disappoint them and helped the Punjab University tennis team in winning the All Pakistan Inter Universities Championship for three consecutive years. 

“I have been looking forward to get a place in the Pakistan Davis Cup team for which I am focused and working hard. I am determined to do so as I have convincingly beaten Faizan Khurram (cousin of Aisamul Haq Qureshi) in the recently concluded Subh-e-Nau Tennis Tournament in straight sets,” he added.

It is noteworthy that because of Usman's performance the HEC team has earned forth place in the Pakistan national tennis team championship organized by the PTF this year and it is praiseworthy because all the leading teams of the country like Wapda, PAF, Army, Punjab, Sindh and others, who all had the services of national ranking players participated in the event.