ISLAMABAD - Subh-e-Nau (SN) Chairperson Shahida Kausar Farooq has said that activities of women tennis in Pakistan are facing continued downfall and need urgent attention by authorities.

Talking to The Nation, Shahida said: “I have been organising tennis events and promoting the game for more than two decades. It is highly sad that national tennis events are missing female participation due to lack of entries.”

She cited the example of recently-concluded national event at Wah Cantt where only eight female players registered for ladies singles, out of which five players backed out at the eleventh hour. Similarly, only two girls from Pakistan are taking part in ITF Juniors Tennis being played at Islamabad which is not a good sign for the host country.

The SN chairperson said that due to very low or no representation of females in sports bodies, the voice of our female section is not as strong as it must be. “Although there are a lot of tennis academies and coaching centres in the country, but no one has been producing female players or coaches who may serve the country.

“Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) should run awareness campaign for female players to participate in international, national or local events and provide them required friendly environment to compete,” she added.

Shahida said it is sad that only one category is included in national level events, which is ladies singles and younger players hesitate to take part, where they know they have to play against experienced and elder opponents. The ladies doubles, girls U-18, U-14 and U-10 should be mandatory for all the national events to promote female tennis at grassroots level.

She appreciated the PTF management for increasing a number of events in the country and said it should also focus on women tennis. “It is a welcoming step that the PTF has taken two female members on board, however, those members should be given a separate office where female players may go and have their problems solved without any hesitation.”

She said that tennis training facilities are much expensive and are not affordable for a common people. “There should be no or very nominal charges for the beginners to get themselves trained at these academies and enjoy all the tennis facilities free of cost.”