KARACHI:Dominating men’s tennis for nearly two decades, Pakistan No.1 tennis player Aqeel Khan says he was now seeing very few youngsters picking tennis as a career sport.
“If you see our huge population, the number of youngsters playing tennis is very small,” said the 41-year-old Aqeel Khan. “I think youngsters and their families don’t think tennis is remunerative sport to play in Pakistan.”
Khan said that Pakistan’s big cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad have enough infrastructures for the grass-root level but it’s not enough for top tennis events.
Khan has regularly teamed up with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Pakistan’s top tennis player in the international circuit. However, Qureshi doesn’t feature in local events except representing Pakistan in the Davis Cup ties therefore he doesn’t have a standing in the national rankings.
The duo together holds the record for playing the most ties for Pakistan in the Davis Cup, and has the best doubles partnership for Pakistan.
Khan is the son of tennis coach Jamil Khan and he said he started playing tennis for that reason without any proper future plans.
“But if I am given an option to go back again and choose a career then I would again choose career in tennis,” Khan told PPI. “It’s because I love this sport.”
His younger brothers Jalil Khan and Yasir Khan have played tennis and had top-five national ranking in the past. Khan said that the game of tennis was struggling just like almost all other sports during the pandemic and activities have come to a standstill.