ISLAMABAD  -   German Kai Wehnhelt Friday said he was very happy and proud of his decision to come and play in the ITF Futures in Pakistan.

Fourth seed 23-year-old German, who has reached final of the $15,000 4th Benazir Bhutto Shaheed ITF Futures (3) Championships-2018, said his parents had warned him against the dangers I could face while traveling to Pakistan due to security concerns.

“But my tennis playing friends argued that as the ITF has allocated event to Pakistan, it means security concerns are not true. So I made up my mind and decided to embark on the journey and trust me the way all the international players are given red-carpet welcome, the extra care, I would have not dreamed it.” “I am highly not only satisfied with the security but also feeling as safe as I could be in Germany or any other country. Off course security concerns are everywhere in the world, but the way Pakistan Tennis Federation and Islamabad Tennis Complex administration had maintained security, prepared courts and gave us the hospitality that is beyond words. I have made few friends in Pakistan and trust me Pakistan got immense amount of talent. They only lack international exposure and non-holding of international events in Pakistan.”

He said it was his first visit to Pakistan he was very pleasantly surprised that people were so much caring and everyone tried to help us and they drove me around and took to different places. However Kai has his own problems as well and the most common as usual was spicy foods that gave him food poisoning. “Now, I just try to eat rice and chicken. Actually I have this issue of upset stomach and I never used tab water even for brushing teeth. It is my third week in Pakistan, I lost against Japanese Rio Noguchi in the semi-finals in the first tournament, beat him in the second tournament in the semi-final and now I will be playing against him in the final today.”

When asked about whether he felt any kind of security issues in Pakistan, he replied: “It’s pretty funny, I feel pretty safe and I know nobody can come in such environment. Soccer is very much popular in Germany. I had played soccer in the early days but after that as both sports are very expensive, I decided to switch to tennis. I am right handed player, but I love the way Rafal Nadal plays. He is a complete package and even though he is not winning, but his body language and attitude is highly positive. I had played lot of tournaments in Germany and won lot of pro-tournaments. It is my first year on ITF tours and I am already enjoying it. I had never reached any major tournament final so it is very huge opportunity for me to play the final and muster much-needed ITF ranking points. I had turned professional only this year and there is lot of tennis for me coming thick and fast.”

When asked about whether he is feeling any pressure of being in the final and opponent is top seed, Kai replied: “Absolutely there is no pressure at all. In fact I am enjoying being in the final and the way spectators back us and support us is amazing. I will play my natural game and focus on giving 100 percent as winning or losing doesn’t matter for me. If I win, it is good and in case I lose, I will learn from mistakes.”

When asked about whether he is planning to come again and play either in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad next time around, Kia replied: “Off course, I will love to come and play in Pakistan whether in Islamabad or any other city. Next year, I will ensure my schedule had space to travel to Pakistan as I don’t want to miss the hospitality and warmness of Pakistani people. It is my message to all international players that they must at least once come and witness, Pakistan is as safe as any other part of the world and rather than paying heed towards rumours, they themselves witness the beauty and respect of the players and people of Pakistan. I would like to say thanks to PTF and ITC MD Fazle Subhan and all others who are very kind and supportive and looking forward to meet them again soon,” Kia concluded.