It will take many years to bring Pakistan tennis on the world map, decades even. A lot needs to be done, and then some more. It will need strong leadership and endless efforts in the right direction. It will require desire and passion. It will require honest devotion and the will to deliver. It will require competence.

We need people who know the sport, who have lived their life in tennis and around it, to be involved. We need to involve them and give them the respect they deserve. We have many experienced veterans who can and would help our tennis by sharing their wisdom of the sport. We also have some players of the recent past turned coaches who are creating a new positive culture. Why wouldn't they want to help Pakistan tennis ? Why wouldn't they care about the industry that gave them recognition and their livelihood. Without which they'd be nobody but with it they got a chance to represent the country internationally.

They certainly would. But to do that they will need to see that the people in charge of matters are fully interested and committed. The people in charge will need to lose all ego and be willing to learn because most of the times they have little or no knowledge of the sport. Our greats will need to keep personal differences and ego aside as well and do what they can in their capacities. The federation needs support from our champions of the past, coaches and experts of the modern game.

The game has evolved a lot but Pakistan is lagging light years behind. It's the same in most other sports. We used to rule the world in squash and hockey. But since the world applied science and technology to sports, they overtook us and never looked back. They specifically train each athlete uniquely to the exact specifications needed for the sport. They train each individual differently according to their body type and game style and so much else that I don't know but would love to learn about.

So, going back to the point, we need a combined effort on a very large scale. We need passionate, selfless individuals who put Pakistan tennis ahead of their personal gains and losses. All this will only happen if, and only if, our top leadership, the men with the reigns are seriously all about it as mentioned before. Just like you don't become a player, a champion, unless you want it yourself. As they say, "You can take the horse to the water, but you can't make it drink it."

Anyways, these abovementioned things are just the basics. They are needed to achieve any goal anywhere. But I feel the need to say all of it because I haven't seen the urgency that it takes, that is needed, in the Pakistan Tennis Federation since I've been a part of the national circuit.

We need to get more educated about tennis. Unfortunately, we're not doing any research of our own so it is imperative that we send coaches abroad to learn the game, to learn how to teach the game. To open their eyes to the types of training methods that are being used by successful coaches, the fitness regimens that the fittest athletes are following. We need to learn the science behind everything not just pickup programs because every athlete isn't the same. They need to be able to create programs specifically for all players. So in short, we need to educate coaches and trainers.

We need one training center, a hub for tennis, where everything is available. Everything includes, good tennis courts that are well maintained, our educated and qualified tennis coaches, rooms to stay for players from out of town and a fully equipped gym and the little essential requirements.

We actually have a very large tennis center in Islamabad which could be turned into a fully loaded, high performance breeding ground. It is named "Syed Dilawar Abbas Tennis Complex" but all the players call it, "PTF." That facility is being awfully underutilized. It's a shame. The clay courts are hardly ever prepared. The hard court is years past its expiry date. There is literally no activity there. There is some, but the place is dead most of the time. The vibe is negative.

To develop our players we need to send them abroad to get exposure and see what goes on in other countries. Play tournaments and get match tough, earn world ranking points in junior's and men's. When you have guys and girls with world rankings, that changes things. It makes others hungry to get ranked as well. This competitive process brings players up. It brings out the best and pushes them to aim higher and achieve more. Once there are a few players with a world ranking, then everyone around starts to believe in it and it becomes normal and achievable. It doesn't feel like a myth anymore.

Just like in squash when we had the great Khan dynasty, I think it was the same thing. A cousin trying to better his cousin. They saw their uncles do it; they believed they can do it too. They knew what it took, they believed and they achieved. Of course there was incredible amount of hard work but without the belief and the knowledge it's a lost cause. The youngsters saw world champions walking around in their village like it's no big deal. Why would they ever think it's something extraordinary? To be honest, it was, but to them it wasn't because it was right in front of their eyes. Then every kid in Pakistan wanted to play squash and a lot of them wanted to win the British open. Luckily for them, there were people around who had done it multiple times to guide them and inspire them.

We don't need world champions in tennis. We need baby steps. Fund hardworking potential players to go abroad and compete. Bring them all to Islamabad for training camps; fund the best few to play world ranking tournaments. Once they get some points, the others will work harder to prove that they can do the same or better. Create a growing environment where players push each other to their limits. Otherwise in Pakistan, there are two players based in Lahore, four in Karachi, two here, three there. It won't happen like that. We need them to spend time together, train with the coaches, practice with a different player every day and workout together.

Not saying that by doing this we will have Grand Slam champions but, to produce tennis players, you need proper machinery. We have no machinery. We are not spending any money on our tennis or the tennis players. We might be, but compared to what other countries in the vicinity are spending, it's shameful.

We need so much more than this that I don't know because I'm not very knowledgeable myself. But these are basics that we desperately need, to have some structure, some way to measure our work and productivity. I think most of my compatriots will agree with me that we need something along these lines. Without this we will stay where we are. With this we will at least be able to say, we tried.

Abid Akbar is a former Under-18 national champion, a scholar-athlete at the university of Idaho, the assistant coach of his alma mater's tennis program and currently a professional tennis player