ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's premier international tennis star Aisamul Haq Qureshi Friday said that sheer love for the country drove him all the way from Europe to play Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group-II tie against Vietnam.

Talking to The Nation on late Thursday night just before his departure for UAE to play in the Dubai Open along with his doubles partner Rohan Bhopana, Aisam said: “PTF president Dr Kaleem Imam had time and again requested me to reconsider my decision and play all-important tie for Pakistan, but despite my utter willingness, I had to fulfill my international commitments as well. After losing in the first round, I decided that country needed me so I made up my mind and decided to represent my country in the Davis Cup tie against Vietnam.”

“I don't need certificates from others to prove my love for the country. Everybody, who knows Aisam, is aware of the fact that I always put country ahead of personnel interests and same will be done in the future as well. After Dubai, I will depart to US to play in Miami and Indian Wells Open. I am focusing on my fitness and will return to play Davis Cup home tie against Philippines. I am very excited and hope the tie will be played in Pakistan, if not then at the neutral venue of Malaysia. We have very bright chances of winning it and land into the finals of the Group-II,” Aisam concluded.

Meanwhile sharing his views, Pakistan's longest serving No 1 player Aqeel Khan said: “As I was fully aware of the fact that we had to do that mission impossible without the services of ace player Aisam, so it added responsibility on my shoulder and second thing which went in our favour was that we reached Vietnam much earlier. Had we waited for exact dates, we could have never won the tie. We had never played before with Babolat balls, which were very light and very hard to control, reaching well before time and practicing hard there helped us to a great deal in adjusting to the conditions.”

“Though conditions were very tough yet I must admit Vietnam Tennis Federation (VTF) had made wonderful arrangements. This was the very first time that Davis Cup Group-II tie was held in Vietnam. We enjoyed their hospitality and excellent arrangements to a great deal. Now we have set our sights on Philippine home tie. I hope the tie would be held at Malaysia, if not then Vietnam had offered us to play tie at their neutral venue. They had promised us to provide best possible hard courts, which would suit our style of play. I will soon talk to PTF president Kaleem Imam in this regard,” he added.

“The tie is scheduled to start from April 4, 5 and 6 and there is still time to prepare well for it. If things go in our favor and we win the tie, we will play the Group-II final against the winners between Kuwait and Thailand tie and if we win the final, we will be able to play in Davis Cup main group from next time,” Aqeel concluded.