‘Tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq a big hope for Pakistan’’ Davis Cup Group II final against Thailand at Islamabad
By;Asghar Ali Mubarak
Islamabad; The Pakistan tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq is the big hope for Pakistan Davis Cup Group II final against Thailand at Islamabad Pakistan. The Davis Cup Group II final is scheduled from September 15 to 17 September 2017, Aisam return yesterday after participation in US Open. Aisam and Aqeel Khan were exempted from the trials while two players were selected from the trials. Pakistan has produced some very talented tennis players over the years, both men and women. But the stature of Aisamul Haq Qureshi is above all. Pakistan tennis has become synonymous with Aisam, the international star who earned recognition and fame due to his numerous accomplishments over the past decade. He is the only Pakistan tennis player to reach the final of a Grand Slam. Aisam’s success has been predated by his multiple years of toil at international level, where relentless pursuit of his ambition helped him eventually breakthrough. In the process, he spent millions of rupees on coaching and travelling extensively. As Pakistan No. 1, Asiam has traditionally led Pakistan’s Davis Cup campaigns. After shocking New Zealand in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group I second round play-off in 2004 to survive relegation, he took them to the World Group Play-offs for the first time in 2005, before they were beaten by Chile. He has won the most Davis Cup matches for Pakistan, being the most successful singles and doubles player from his country ever. He is also part of the most successful doubles pairing for Pakistan with Aqeel Khan in the country’s sporting history.Aisam prefers the quicker grass courts and has had seen his greatest success on grass and hard courts. His playing style is serve-and-volley, relying on his serve to win him points by putting pressure on his opponents. Aisam’s clothing and shoes sponsor is Lotto. On 29 March 2008, Aisam signed an agreement with Pepsi Cola for sponsorship of coach for one year. He became the first Pakistan sportsman who wasn’t a cricketer to star in a Pepsi advertisement and become one of their brand ambassadors. Aisam teamed with Israeli player Amir Hadad during Wimbledon and the US Open tournaments in 2002. He is now a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club, a group of 54 athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organisation. In November 2010 Aisam was appointed The United Nations Development Programmers (UNDP) goodwill ambassador. Aisam, who by virtue of spending his time playing on the Challenger Circuit and then the ATP World Tour, has been Pakistan’s official numerous despite ignoring the domestic circuit for the last so many years. Aisam could easily be termed as the most accomplished player of Pakistan, having made main draw appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open, though he deservedly acquired greater acclaim and fame upon reaching the US Open doubles finals (men and mixed) in 2010: men’s doubles while partnering with Rohan Bopanna of India and mixed doubles while partnering with Kvita Peschke of Czech Republic. A prolonged stint in the doubles top 10 further cemented his status as a contemporary great.Aisam was born and grew up in Lahore with swimming, cricket and football being his favorite pastimes at his alma-mater Crescent Model Higher Secondary School. He started playing tennis late at age of 14, when his maternal grandfather and first coach, Khawaja Iftikhar Ahmed, a former 10-time national champion, took him to a tennis club in Model Town Lahore. His maternal grandfather Iftikhar was also the All-British India champion, before Pakistan split from British India in 1947. His mother, Nosheen Ihtsham, was also a former women’s tennis champion. At age 16, the ITF sponsored Aisam for two years. He won the Pakistan International Junior Championships and went on to win the Casablanca Cup in Mexico and the LTA International Junior Championships in Roehampton, where he beat Olivier Rochus, Andy Ram, and Taylor Dent. In the World Super Junior Championships, he beat Andy Roddick. At 18, he was a top-20 junior player and decided to turn pro. As a junior, he was coached by LTA. Aisam has been coached by American Robert Davis since 1998. Robert has served as national coach for Peru, Panama, Thailand, and Indonesia. As a writer, Aisam contributes to the ATP’s Deuce Magazine, Tennis Magazine USA, Tennis.com, Tennis Magazine Australia, and ITF publications, as well as non-sporting publications and newspapers.Aisam was awarded the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for 2010 along with his doubles tennis partner Bopanna of India. Along with Bopanna, Aisam received the 2010 ‘Peace and Sport Image of the Year’ award in recognition of their dedicated efforts to spread the message of peace through sport. Aisam and his doubles partner Bopanna also created a campaign, ‘Stop War Start Tennis.