ISLAMABAD-Pakistan tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi has urged the Pakistan Tennis Federation to convince the ITF to allow Pakistan play its Davis Cup ties at home soil.

Talking to The Nation from France, Aisam said: “After facing defeat at the hands of New Zealand in Asia-Oceania Group-I Davis Cup tie, now the PTF should focus on Group-II and ensure the ITF must allow Pakistan to play our ties at the home soil, which will help Pakistan tennis a great deal.”

Rubbishing the claims made by some quarters that he withdrew from Davis Cup Group-I tie against New Zealand due to money dispute, Aisam termed the accusations as completely baseless and had nothing to do with ground reality. “The matter of the fact is that if I informed what I am getting to represent Pakistan in Davis Cup, nobody will believe. I am playing for Pakistan for almost last two decades and I never demanded money or any other personal favour and always put my country way ahead of my personal benefits. I always take time off from my international commitments and make myself available for Pakistan. I never demanded money, as I always talk about passing on benefits to all the team members.”

Giving reasons of withdrawing from the event, Aisam said: “I had decided not to play the tie in strong protest against International Tennis Federation’s double standards. The ITF’s step-motherly treatment is not acceptable to me. New Zealand had misbehaved with Pakistan when they were playing at the neutral venue of Myanmar and almost lost the tie. The PTF should have tried to pull them out of their comfort zone and ensured the tie take place at the neutral venue, as Pakistan had never beaten Kiwis on their home soil.

“We have always posed serious challenge to Kiwis while playing at the neutral venue. There was every possibility like past, Kiwis top players would have not turned up for the Davis Cup, had the tie was played on the neutral venue. Just like we played the previous tie against China, which was held in Sri Lanka, although we lost the tie, but it was due to our key players Abid Ali Akbar and Samir were not present there, as we chose Sri Lanka keeping in mind, Abid and Samir, who are best on the clay courts. Had both available to Pakistan, results could have been far different,” he added.  Aisam said Yasir Khan and M Abid represented Pakistan against China and they did managed to cause a lot of trouble to Chinese opponents, unlike of New Zealand where the tie was played in indoor courts, which Pakistanis are not used to and even Aqeel couldn’t perform well there and same was the case with Abid and Samir. Aqeel had to shoulder extra burden of being the playing captain. The PTF should have sent non-playing captain, which would have eased burden on Aqeel, who had hardly captained Pakistan in Davis Cup ties.

“One thing is quite clear that both Aqeel and I are now 36 plus. We need trainer, as our bodies require treatment soon after the matches. Had New Zealand played the tie at neutral venue, Abid and Samir could have inflicted huge damages on them, while Aqeel could have also helped Pakistan a great deal,” Aisam concluded.