LAHORE                   -               Former Davis Cupper Rashid Malik has lauded Pakistan tennis team for winning the Davis Cup World Group I play-offs against Slovenia 3-0 and hoped that they will continue their winning streak in upcoming ties.

Talking to The Nation here on Thursday, Malik (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) said: “The Davis Cup tie has been conducted successfully by the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) in a very peaceful and cordial environment, which shows that Pakistan is a safe and beautiful country and we know how to take care of our guests.

The country is also a safe place to host all kinds of sports events. “The 3-0 victory against Slovenia also reflects that our players were well prepared and played exceptionally against European tennis powerhouse, which helped them register an impressive as well as historical victory,” he added.

Malik, who is also PLTA Secretary, said that the credit goes to PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan, who not only played key role in resorting international tennis activities in the country but also brought top international tennis teams in Pakistan for Davis Cup ties. Non-playing captain Mushaf Zia and other coaches also did well in preparing the national team for the important Davis Cup tie, which proved very fruitful for the national team.”

The former Davis Cupper also lauded the services of Pakistan’s international tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi and longest serving national No 1 Aqeel Khan for the country and its tennis. “Both the tennis greats deserve due recognition and appreciation for whatever they have done for the country. There is a dire need to especially recognize the services of Aqeel and award him with a civil award.”

Malik said that there is also a dire need of establishing nurseries of sports in the entire country. “Every country in the world is trying to strengthen its sports nurseries, which is the only way to produce future stars and produce better results in international events. It is my request to Prime Minister Imran Khan to give proper attention towards this area, which will certainly benefit the country in the longer run.”

The PLTA Secretary, who has also served the country first as a Davis Cupper and then as non-playing captain and coach of national Davis Cup team many times, said that whenever the country needs his services, he is always ready to serve for it. “I remained with national Davis Cup team for almost 20 years as captain/coach and my services are always available for the country, which gave us name and fame.”

“Aisam and Aqeel are still fit to represent the country at any event. Other players have to look up to them and start working harder so that they may also achieve their goals and present their country for so long. Aisam is a true professional because I know him since he was 10 years, when I helped him in his training.

He had the talent and determination but I would like appreciate his father, who was always there when needed. The non-stop support and proper management of his father made him an international champion,” Malik added.