KARACHI - ANISUDDIN KHAN - Pakistan's top tennis duo of Aisamul Haq and Aqeel Khan are hoping to clinch an entry in the doubles event in coming London Olympics but their chances of reaching there depend on two crucial factors.

The leading factor is that Aisamul Haq remain in top 10 of the ITF men's doubles ranking till the cut-off date of entry in June and secondly Aqeel Khan succeeds in achieving first round victory in any of the ITF Future Tours to clinch just one point before the entry closes.  If this happens, the duo would get a history making breakthrough for Pakistan, which has never played in tennis event of Olympics since the sport was restored as medal discipline four Olympics ago. Though the Olympics title does not offer financial return in this era of professionalism where the sport is awash with millions of dollars, yet top professionals pride to appear in Olympics just for the sake of collecting a medal and if possible a gold one.

Aisam safely remained in top 10 as long as Indian Bopanna was his partner but when the Indian left his Pakistani partner to try to get a place in London Olympics by preferring to play with a country-mate, Aisam's international ranking has suffered.

Currently he is ranked 10th at world level. He has to retain that ranking till the last date of entry for London .Will he be able to retain that spot with new partners is difficult to predict. According to information available Aisam will soon hit the international trail to play in the ITF recognised events with new partners to at least retain his ranking.

The other tricky factor which is in Pakistan's way to London is one point that Aqeel needs from the available ITF Futures tours till June. Pakistan's number one is expected to leave for places where he could play in Future Tour matches. He may prefer to play in venues that are close to Pakistan including UAE and other Gulf States, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Aqeel is expected to try his luck there provided he has sufficient funds to travel and pay for his boarding and lodging.

Pakistan Tennis Federation, which is already facing shortage of funds to run its day to day affairs, would be hard pressed if approached to fund Aqeel's trips to Future Tour events. Any multinational or Bank if approached and convinced may come forward to help the tennis star who during the last ten years four times had come to the rescue of Pakistan in Davis Cup fixtures by winning the decisive second singles. Recently, he won the return singles against Lebanon to clinch 3-2 result for Pakistan after Aisam was beaten in first return singles neutralising the lead that Pakistan had earned by taking the doubles on the second day.

Aqeel has won the tie for Pakistan four times against China, New Zealand, Lebanon and Koera. But his success went unnoticed. When he won his crucial singles tie which proved decisive in Lebanon, it was expected that provincial and federal governments would notice it and would rightly award the player. But so far no movement from any quarter has been made or announced. Even Sindh sports department has ignored his achievement and has not announced awards for the player who was born and brought up in Sindh and played all his tennis in the province.

The PTF has already promised writing letters to concerned government departments for awarding Aqeel. If Aqeel fails to clinch a point from ITF Future tours and Aisam remained in top 10 of ITF men's double ranking, he will look for a Pakistani around the world with dual nationality, who has one ITF point to partner him in London Olympics. This is the only and last opportunity for Pakistan to get an entry in London Olympics tennis.