LAHORE        -        Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan is hopeful of hosting India for Davis Cup tie in Islamabad.

“Politics must be kept out of sports, which can help in bridging the gap between rivals. This event should be taken as a tool to defuse the rising tensions between the two neighbouring countries and strengthen the bilateral relations especially with regard to sports,” the PTF chief told The Nation on Tuesday.

Salim Saifullah met with Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) President Lt Gen (R) Arif Hasan here at a local hotel to brief and update him on the upcoming Pakistan-India Davis Cup tie in Islamabad on September 15. PTF Senior Vice President Khawaja Suhail Iftikhar and POA Secretary Khalid Mehmood were also present there.  Salim said that they have made all the possible arrangements to host the Davis Cup tie in a befitting manner. “The visa process of Indian team is in progress and hopefully, their visas will be ready well in time.”

About the preparations of Pakistan team against the Indians, he said: “We have two super stars in shape of Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan. Aisam has been playing superbly at international level while Aqeel was also sent to assist Aisam as a partner, which helped both a lot and Aqeel learned a lot during his stay abroad. Hopefully, they will once again deliver for the country.

“The young members of Pakistan Davis Cup team are also keen to give out their best against arch-rivals India. Now it is all up to the national team, how it delivers on the given day. Our all-out support and best wishes are with the team,” Salim concluded.

POA President Gen (R) Arif assured the PTF President of all-out support to ensure smooth handling and arrangements for visiting Indian team and officials during the Davis Cup tie.

He lauded the efforts of PTF Chief Salim Saifullah for the promotion of tennis in the country and hosting a good number of international events in Pakistan. “With the efforts of the PTF President, Pakistani players are getting good number of opportunities to play ITF events at home soil while the junior players are also being provided maximum number of ITF events, which help the country in getting fresh talent.” The POA Chief also wished Pakistan team good luck for the Davis Cup tie against India and hoped that the men in green will give out their best and try to win the tie. “I assure all-out support to the PTF President of hosting and managing the Davis Cup and on his special invitation, I will also witness the Davis Cup matches in Islamabad.”

Replying to a query regarding upcoming Asian Games, Gen (R) Arif said: “We are right now focusing on National Games, which will help us find out the best talent of available lot, who, along with our international players, will be invited at the training camps in Islamabad. There we will provide best training and facilities to prepare them for the South Asian Games and hopefully, we will succeed in winning a great number of medal during the Games.”