ISLAMABAD-India’s highly rated international tennis coach Birbal Wadhera said Pakistan was like his second home and he was always ready to travel to the country to help its tennis players, whom he considered one of the best in the business.

Talking to the Nation from Chandigarh, he said: “I had twice came Pakistan on special invitation of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) and last time in 2011, when Syed Kaleem Imam was the president. I always found Pakistani players highly cooperative, keen learner and hard working. I worked with some players in 2007, when I arrived first time and some of those junior players had started creating waves in Pakistan tennis. I also met with Pakistan No 1 Aqeel Khan and found him very down to earth, who was ready to listen whatever told to him and I really enjoyed working with Pakistani players.”

Birbal said he was the only Indian, who could openly claim that his heart and soul prayed for Pakistani tennis players and citizens of Pakistan. “I strongly believe Pakistan is blessed with immense amount of natural talent, but the only need is to polish this talent, provide them with facilities and top class training. I can guarantee, Pakistanis can topple any given opponent in due course of time, but due to lack of international exposure, they are unable to excel at higher level.”

“Aqeel did play in a few international events including India, Sri Lanka and other parts, but due to non-availability of sufficient resources, Aqeel could not acclaim those heights, which he could have easily done provided with sponsors. India is completely different in this regard, as sponsors step forward and support almost all the games, unlike in Pakistan where only cricket gets the lime share of sponsors, while other sports are badly neglected. Majority of Pakistan and Indian players have to depend whole-solely on either government or sponsors, as majority of the federations both in India and Pakistan don’t have sufficient amount of funds to spend heavily on genuine players,” he added.

Birbal said the PTF must work on war footings to get fresh blood, as Aisam and Aqeel have served Pakistan for almost two decades and now they don’t have much time left, as age is fast running out while the federation must invest on youngsters. “I also witnessed a few new bright players coming on the horizon, but they need to be polished and that too very soon. The time is high when old players Aqeel and Aisam and others must join hands with the PTF and work on producing fresh pool of players. My services are always available, whenever PTF wants me I am willing to respond in positive,” Birbal concluded.