ISLAMABAD  -  International Tennis Federation (ITF) has confirmed the allocation of two back-to-back ITF Grade-5 Juniors Tennis Tournaments to be held in Islamabad from November 5 to 17.

Talking to The Nation, Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) spokesman said that earlier the PTF also conducted the ITF Juniors in February this year in Islamabad, taking this year’s total ITF events to three. “These tournaments will be played on the new synthetic surfaces being constructed at the Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Complex.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the new courts being developed will have the world’s known Plexipave Cushion Prestige surface, the same as used in the Australian Open Grand Slam. He said that the project undertaken by the PTF recently will improve the facilities manifold for hosting events and future players’ development.

Commenting on the project upgrade, PTF Patron Senator Wasim Sajjad, who was also former PTF chief, said: “In sports, as in any field, keeping with the times is critical to development and progress, as an erstwhile president and now the PTF patron, I am very pleased to see the long overdue project of converting select courts to synthetic surface having started. This is by far the most popular and common surface today and I feel certain the conversions will go a long way to help our present and future players to develop their skills and in preparations for international events. It will also provide a modern-day look to the tennis complex facility in Islamabad, which is also important when hosting players from the several countries who are now looking forward to play in Pakistan with return of international tennis."

Similarly, Sindh Tennis Association (STA) Senior Vice President and former PTF Secretary M Khalid Rehmani said: “I firmly believe that converting five additional tennis courts at the Complex in Islamabad, to top class hard-synthetic is a very good decision and much needed. I, personally, and top national players like Aqeel Khan had been wishing for the change for years.

“The so-called clay that is used here in parts is something we don't find around the world, so, what good is our players practicing on a surface which they'll not find elsewhere? The whole world has moved to synthetic courts, and our players naturally face issues to adapt when they play in overseas events. Besides, the remaining few, decreasing clay courts in other countries normally use red clay, not crushed gravel/stone which we call 'clay',” he added.

In 2019, the PTF will apply for four ITF Grade-5 juniors events after hosting the events in 2018 in order to promote tennis in youth who have shown keen interest in the game and want to improve their ranking, especially after the return of international events, he said.