LAHORE - Pakistan ladies tennis champion Ushna Suhail on Tuesday said players needed maximum international exposure to bring laurels for the country. 

Ushna has recently returned home after participating in Belgium national circuit tennis events where she showed her abilities while playing against top ranked players.

In an interview with The Nation, Ushna said: “It was a great tour for me which was full of learning and international exposure. It gave me self-confidence and provided me chance to analyse where I am standing and what I have yet to improve.”

“The tour proved very beneficial as it provided me chance to exhibit my prowess against top ranked players and to showcase my talent at higher level,” she added.  She said Belgians were surprised too see a Pakistani playing tennis and beating their players in their own arenas. “The were considering me a player hailing from Spain or any other European country but when they were told I was from Pakistan, it surprised them a lot.”

Praising her basic coaches, she said: “I was initially trained by one of the finest Pakistan coaches Rasheed Malik and later, Zulfiqar Raheem helped me a lot in making me a professional player. After that, I have decided to play at international circuit. I have played a good number of international tournaments and struggling to excel as better ranked player. Now, my aim is to represent Pakistan in WTA events.

“Most of the ladies tennis player in Pakistan left the game at their peak because of lack of facilities and international exposure. Most of them are unable to bear the expenses of their foreign tours to appear in international events. But I am very fortunate that my parents always supported me borne all the expenses of my foreign tours and still they have been doing so. But it is unfortunate that neither PTF nor government bothered to help me financially despite knowing the fact that I have been representing my country at various international forums and portraying positive image of it across the globe,” she stated.

“Credit also goes to Fauji Fertilizers Company (FFC) for sponsoring my Belgium tour which brought maturity and strength in my game. Such sponsorships do help the players in boosting their morale and they in return earn laurels for their beloved country,” she added.

She said the basic reason behind tennis decline in the country was less number of events. “It is the duty of PTF to hold maximum number of national and international events and should endeovour to host international ranking events. We should learn from our neighbouring country India which holds at least 2 to 3 international ranking events which provide their players chance to improve their international ranking and keep them busy playing within the country while we have to go other countries to take part in international events and to improve our rankings which is sometimes too costly to bear.”