We walk around at Pakistani national tournaments as if we are the best, as if we are special. I'm talking about us top 8 to 10 tennis players of Pakistan. I'm exaggerating a bit, not everyone walks like that. Some of us are very humble. What I'm saying is that, no matter if we think or not, our walks show or not, we really are the epitome of Pakistani tennis. It is something to be proud of to an extent. Some of us come from very humble backgrounds and making it to the top is a dream come true. For some that is everything they've ever wanted and worked for. The problem is that is all they've seen.

Getting to the top of something that has no middle or bottom, isn't quite an achievement after all. In order to really look at where our tennis elites stand, we need to leave our homeland and view our situation from the outside in. That's true in many aspects, not just tennis.

Even if you go east into India, spend a while at their circuit, see where their tennis is at, then turn around and peek into Pakistan's tennis circuit you'll be disheartened. We don't hear the names of any Indians at the world level today. They are nowhere at the top level. Still, they are head and shoulders above us.

They have no one in the top 100 in singles, though they have five guys in the top 400 currently that I can think of; which is really nothing compared to Spain, France, Germany, Italy, America, etc. Honestly, it isn't fair to compare India and Pakistan in any sport really if you look at the amount of money they're dumping into all sports.

Kabaddi, a sport we often disrespect by making fun of, India, on the other hand has a televised national premier league of it with a prize money of $165,800.

Back to the point, as mentioned above, India has five guys in the top 400. Guess how many Pakistan has. Zero. How many in the top 1000? Zero. How many with any world ranking or points? Nada.

A childhood friend of mine and I are at ITF futures tournament in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. These futures tournaments are the entry level tournaments of the professional tennis tour. My friend is the most recent men's national champion of Pakistan. I have played the final of a national championship once about three years ago. So I can safely say we are a part of that so called cream, that 'elite' group of tennis players of Pakistan.

We are here struggling to make the main draw of these tournaments. Before these lowest level pro tournaments start, there is a qualifying draw in which you have to win three matches to come through to the main tournament. We both lost first rounds of that qualifying draw. Honestly, what we achieved or did, anyone from the street can sign up, pay the entry fee, show up for the match and achieve. Of course, we both have done a little better than this in the past and are working to do better in the upcoming tournaments.

My point is though, that we are nothing. Pakistan's tennis elite is nothing when seen from the outside or if taken outside of Pakistan.

You get an ATP point if you win the first round of the main draw, which means four matches in a row against world ranked opponents. In the qualifying rounds you'll play guys anywhere from 2,000 in the world to 900. If you qualify for the main draw, your first round will typically be against a guy ranked anywhere from 1,000 to 250. If you win that first round match, you get a world ranking anywhere from 2,200 to 1,900. Eight to ten years ago, one point took you to around 1,400. This change is because of an increase and improvement in the competition.

To break the top 1000 these days, you need around six to eight points. That means winning four matches in a row against quality opponents in six to eight different tournaments; or making it to the semi-final in one tournament, which means winning six matches in a row.

To put things in perspective, my friend and I, part of the top block of Pakistan tennis , are working to get that one point right now. The first point of our lives and to hold the honour of the only Pakistani singles players with world ranking points.

On the other hand, India has five guys inside the top 400 as mentioned before. To break the top 400 you need 60 points at least. Obviously, to get higher you need more. You can get sixty points by winning first round in 60 tournaments; by reaching quarterfinals in 30 tournaments; by making 10 semi-finals; by making six finals or by lifting the trophy four times.

The bottom line is, Pakistan tennis is at a historic low. I'm not trying to demoralize anyone. I love this sport and if I became the prime minster of Pakistan, I'd make it compulsory for every kid to play tennis. Well, that's taking it too far, but it is such a great sport that teaches one so many things about life, about one's self, that one would never learn any other way.

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