ISLAMABAD        -        Renowned Indian tennis coach Birbal Wadhera has visited Pakistan twice to coach top Pakistani players.

He highly lauded the coming Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-I tie between India and Pakistan next month in Islamabad. He said it will be a milestone in turning around the highly sour relations between two neighbors.

While talking exclusively to The Nation from India on Friday, he said: “Pakistani Tennis Federation, players, the people and sports journalists have given me much respect and love. I really enjoyed the hospitality of the people of Pakistan and I can never forget those memories.”

He said that it was nice to see that the two countries are working together to bridge their differences.

“This would not be a contest between two tennis powerhouses but between two countries who enjoy a lot of things in common. The Davis Cup will help resolve the mutual misunderstandings.”

He said: “I still remember that Usama Bin Laden issue was ripe when I started the camp in Islamabad and trust me I was given a memorable welcome. The players also tried to follow my methods, their willingness and response was highly appreciable. I still believe that Pakistan has tremendous talent in tennis, they only require exposure to modern day training and coaching.”

Expressing his wish to visit Pakistan soon to establish a tennis camp, Birbal predicted positive things to follow if both the nations take sports to be a tool for normalization of their rising tensions.

He said that both India and Pakistan require each other support and this can only be achieved through sports and he appeals to both Indian and Pakistani governments to play sports and shun differences, as the people of both countries desire peace, love, respect and harmony.

He said he was ready to serve Pakistan tennis as he believes that Pakistan is more than capable of producing a number of Aisams and Aqeel Khans. His students now represent Pakistan and it is a heartening feeling to see ones’ students representing their country. His prayers and best wishes are with both teams and he wants both to play tennis and always respect each other. 

“Like I said, I enjoyed my stay and work in Pakistan and trust me whenever I got the opportunity of working with Pakistani players, I won’t hesitate and travel to Pakistan without thinking for a while. I want to establish camp for the up and coming players of Pakistan as sports is only medium, which can bring both nations closer. I can feel and can see that in coming days and months, very positive things will surface. No matter there are rising tensions between the two countries, but I believe sports is the tool to cool down temperatures.”