ISLAMABAD - Pakistan ladies champion and FFC sports ambassador Ushna Suahil has urged the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) to arrange maximum international tournaments for female players so that they may attain the WTA points, which will prove very beneficial for the players in general and federation in particular.

In an interview with the Nation after clinching the FFC Open National Ranking Tennis Championship 2015, 22-year-old Ushna said: “I have not played a ranking tournament in Pakistan for almost three years, as my main focus and ambition was to play in the ITF tournaments and get maximum ranking points. By the grace of God, I have managed to reach 1202 in singles and 992 in doubles WTA rankings, and I will try my best to improve both by partaking in more events. I am quite sure in the new rankings to be announced soon, I will get boost as I have managed to play semifinal of ITF events in Egypt.”

“I am grateful to FFC for lending helping hand to me and sharing lime shoulder of my international tours, but I request other nationals and multinationals to come forward to support the tennis players who in reply will certainly help laurels for the country. PIA must also contribute like they did in the past, as travelling costs too much, so relaxation in fares can help a great deal to players,” she added.

When asked how many WTA events a player required each year to improve her international rankings, Ushna replied: “Out of 52 weeks, we at least need to participate in 35 events each year, which almost amount to Rs20 million every year. The FFC did help me around 50 to 60 percent and that too in parts. I request PTF president Salim Saifullah Khan to look into this issue and arrange funds for females’ participation in international events.”

She said: “It is my request to the PTF that they should announce tournament schedule at least a month earlier, as they announce female event at the eleventh hour, which is almost impossible for me to adjust to my international commitments. I have to skip the WTA event in India just to participate in FFC ranking event in Islamabad. Early announcement of schedule could help me and other players to prepare our calendar.”

“Some quality young female players are making their presence felt, which is a very good and positive sign for Pakistan tennis. Aleena and Mahin are taking giant strides while senior players like Sarah Mehboob and Sara Mansoor are still playing. I am employed at Wapda Multan office and being paid very nominal monthly stipend. I request Wapda to enhance my monthly salary, as my parents are bearing majority of my expenses. I need a coach, who should travel with me and help me in preparing for international events. We face a lot of difficulties when it comes to arrange visas for participation in the ITF events. Pakistani passport should be given proper respect and visa process should be made easier for top players. I request the PTF president, who is already keen to resolve visa issues, to play his active role, as he enjoys too much respect. Now things are moving in right direction, but we need excessive financial help to make giant strides in tennis world,” Ushna concluded.