ISLAMBAD        -          New tennis sensation Muzammil Murtaza requested Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan, IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to lend a helping hand to him and in return, he promised to win laurels for the country.

In an interview with The Nation here on Tuesday, 20-year-old Muzammil, who dethroned Pakistan’s longest serving No 1 tennis player Aqeel Khan twice in a row, said: “It is just the beginning and I can see Aqeel, who is a true champion and legend, is bound to stage strong comeback. I had mental blockade against Aqeel in the past and always gave him very tough time, but now I feel I have overcome that phase and now I am playing my natural game against Aqeel, who is a great class and can stage strong comeback soon.”

Muzammil said last two years were very important for his career, as the ITF Futures played key role in helping him develop into a better player. “I played in Uganda, Doha, Cairo and also became a part of Pakistan Davis Cup team. As long as I get international exposure and play ITF Futures and Davis Cup matches, I will learn a lot and further improve my game. I must say a big thanks to my elder brother Muhammad Yasin, who is an instrumental force behind all my feats. I would also like to say thanks to Davis Cupper Asim Shafiq, Hameed-ul-Haq, PTF coaches and federation for their all-out support to me.

“We need to feature in international matches to pose serious challenge to top professionals. I know I can play much better then what I am playing these days. My main target is to play in ATP circuit and then like Aisam, to win big tournaments like Grand Slams. But for all that, I need to participate in at least 20 tournaments every year. I belong to humble background and my family can’t support me financially. I need the help of PTF as well as the IPC Minister and the PM to achieve my set targets.

“I am getting stipend from Wapda, but my ambitions are to play in major events and to groom myself for bigger stage. I am only 20 and I am well built, hungry and passionate to win big for me and the country. My brother Mudassar is also a very good tennis player and capable of doing well at higher level.”

The player said tournaments play key role in helping players both financially and practically. “The more we get international tournaments in Pakistan and sponsors, the better the results will be. I feel that I have played really well in the last two national tennis tournaments, which helped me win the prestigious titles. My aim and goal is to win big like Aisam and carry forward the mission of helping Pakistan tennis scale down new heights,” Muzammil concluded.