NEW YORK Placing Pakistan on the world tennis map was not the only feat of Aisamul Haq Qureshi. He did much, much more for his beleaguered homeland. The 30-year-old Pakistani champion has earned enormous respect and prestige over the years and now he has stepped up the world tennis ladder by vigorously pleading the cause of his flood-hit country, which is often depicted in the US as a sponsor of terrorism. Despite going down fighting to the top-seeded American pair in the US Open Tennis Tournament, Qureshi has done something that the Pakistani politicians and diplomats have failed to do. He took the microphone and addressed the estimated 15,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, probably the biggest crowd to watch a Grand Slam doubles final, saying the Americans needed his words the most. I want to say something on behalf of all Pakistanis, he said following Fridays 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) defeat to the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike. It is wrong perception that Pakistan is a terrorist country, he told the cheering crowd and millions of people watching the final on television around the world. We are a friendly, loving, caring people and we want peace as much as you guys want it. May God love us all, he added. The stadium crowd gave him a standing ovation and his moving words brought tears to Bobs eyes. His doubles partner, Rohan Bopanna of India, stood by him. Together, theyve formed the politically charged tandem known as the Indo-Pak Express. Qureshi opened his remarks with Eid Mubarak to his countrymen and to Muslims all over the world. My parents are watching in Pakistan, and I love you all, he said, adding that it was also his sisters birthday. Later, Qureshi expanded on what he had told the crowd. There are extremists in every religion, but just because of them you cannot judge the whole country as a terrorist nation. I just wanted to get this message across as a Pakistani, he added. UN ambassadors from Pakistan and India Abdullah Hussain Haroon and Hardeep Singh Puri respectively sat side-by-side in the Presidents Box, the second straight match theyve attended together, cheering the unexpected struggle their team put up against arguably the greatest doubles team of all time, the Bryan brothers. The 16th seeded Qureshi and Bopanna followed up their run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals with five wins in the Flushing Meadows, the venue of US Open tournament. I think on a people-to-people basis, theyre setting an example that the politicians should follow, Ambassador Haroon said. Prize money and rankings were never a motivating factor, said Qureshi, whose success brought rare good news to his flood-stricken country. He also defended the decision to build a mosque near the World Trade Centre site. For me, as a Muslim, thats what makes America the greatest country in the world - freedom of religion, freedom of speech, Qureshi said. If the mosque is built, I think its a huge gesture to all the Muslim community out there in the world. I would really appreciate it, he added. Qureshi said he understands the reasons for sadness on 9/11 and that he accepts that he has the most trouble with immigration checks when he comes to the US. He said he had been stopped at airport immigration every time in New York - three hours at a time - including after his latest 15-hour flight for the Open. It was unusual that Ashe Stadium was nearly full even at noon, when the match started. I could see a bunch of Indians and Pakistanis out there at 10:15 when we were warming up, Bob Bryan said. I was looking around and said, Were not going to have this whole crowd on our side for sure. He also said Qureshis statement to the crowd choked him up. I could see him, Bob said. He was quivering a little bit. He was very choked up. Just to give that message to everyone was very heartfelt. What they are doing is a lot more important than winning the US Open. Added Mike, A sport can bring people together. You know, these guys are going to be great for the game for a long time. The Bryans said they were planning two fundraisers in the next month to raise more money for Pakistan flood relief.